City principals say they can address bad teachers already

City principals say they’re pretty darn happy with their jobs, according to the results of the city’s annual survey for principals. They gave high marks in virtually every area, including the one the city might have wanted them to endorse less enthusiastically — their ability to root out and deal with poor teachers.

The city’s current teacher tenure policy is a pet peeve of Chancellor Joel Klein, who argues that student performance, not just years in the classroom, should determine whether a teacher gets and maintains tenure. And Deputy Chancellor Eric Nadelstern has said that two-thirds of the city’s teachers may need improvement.

But principals said they already have the tools they need to help struggling teachers.

A total of 85 percent said that they were given good enough “support and information to address low-performing employees.” And 93 percent of principals who responded to the survey reported that they either agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “I am given sufficient support and information to guide tenure decisions.” Neither of those rates have changed since March 2008.

Regardless of principals’ views, the teacher evaluation and tenure system is set to change. Under a deal struck between the state and teachers unions this spring, student test scores will begin to factor in teacher evaluations beginning in the 2011-12 school year.

Around 84 percent of the city’s 1,532 principals responded to the survey, which the city has given each fall and spring since November 2007. The city’s full report on the survey results is below: