Top administrators at the city's Department of Education haven't been subject to formal evaluations during the Bloomberg administration, a break from past practice and an unusual occurrence among school districts across the U.S.
The disclosure follows the culmination of a yearslong battle by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to implement tougher teacher and principal evaluations in the district.
Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, who has been on the job since April 2011, said formal job reviews weren't necessary because he informally evaluated his staff daily, and he was evaluated daily by the mayor. Teachers, he said, were in a different position.
"They're in front of the classroom and teaching our children, and we need to have a sense of how well they're doing," he said. "With us, we're not teaching children directly, we're setting policy. And I don't think it's hypocritical at all."
Oh, yeah - that's not hypocritical at all.
Teachers are in front of a classroom teaching "our" children while the NYCDOE educrats/hypocrites are in Tweed courthouse setting policies that affect those teachers who are in front of a classroom teaching "our" children - but that doesn't affect "our" children at all.
Who's Walcott kidding?
The Wall Street Journal goes on to show that none of the top officials at Tweed get formally evaluated ever:
The Wall Street Journal filed a public records request in February 2012 seeking the senior-staff evaluations after the department successfully fought to release scores for individual teachers' performances based on students' test scores.
In a response dated June 11, the department's public-records officer said no evaluations had been created since at least 2001 for the following positions: chancellor, chief of staff, chief academic officer, senior deputy chancellor, chief schools officer, chief operating officer, chief financial officer, deputy chancellor and general counsel. Mr. Bloomberg has appointed three permanent chancellors.
Superintendents across the U.S. are usually evaluated under a formal process, generally by elected boards of education, said Bruce Hunter, associate executive director of AASA, the School Superintendents Association. The reviews are intended to help superintendents improve, he said. An increasing number of superintendents are also judged by their staff and community members, he said. "The jargon for it is a 360 evaluation," he said. "Almost nobody goes without evaluation now."
Superintendents in several other districts controlled by the mayor, such as Boston and Washington, D.C., also receive formal evaluations every year.
Before Mr. Bloomberg won control of the school system in 2002, evaluations of chancellors were comprehensive and touched on many areas under a superintendent's purview.
Former schools Chancellor Rudy Crew's last evaluation praised him for progress on issues such as reading scores and the expansion of prekindergarten but criticized him on several points, including the school-construction plan, according to media reports at the time. Mr. Crew, who was fired in 1999, couldn't be reached for comment.
Klein and Bloomberg (through his spokesperson) defended the lack of formal evaluations for the top Tweedies by saying that Tweed educrats were informally evaluated daily and anybody who wasn't up to snuff was "terminated."
That claim may not stand up to scrutiny, as it has previously been demonstrated that Tweed rarely fires a principal for misconduct, incompetence or anything else that might lead to termination in Bloomberg's beloved private sector.
What's worse, in negotiations with the DOE, UFT President Michael Mulgrew says the Tweedies were always promoting the need for formal accountability for teachers because everybody needs to be evaluated:
United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said the DOE would argue during teacher-evaluation negotiations that "all workers get evaluated."
"It's a monument to hypocrisy," he said. "They're setting policy and making decisions that affect over 1 million children, and they don't feel they need to be evaluated in any formal way whatsoever?"
Indeed it is.
But not a surprise in the Bloomberg administration, where a lack of accountability for the people in power has been a hallmark of his governance.