Friday, February 24, 2012

Court Declines to Hear Appeal on Teacher Data

Little noticed among other announcements is this ruling (covered by Lisa Fleisher of the WSJ who, along with Stephanie Banchero, is doing excellent ed reporting, continuing the great work Barbara Martinez did).  It looks like NY will join LA in releasing this teacher performance data, which is sure to create HUGE controversy.  This is an issue that many reformers disagree on – for example, see the debate between Wendy Kopp ( and Steve Brill ( (as for me, I'm REALLY torn, but lean 60/40 toward releasing the data):


Court Declines to Hear Appeal on Teacher Data




FEBRUARY 14, 2012, 8:38 P.M. ET


New York City has been cleared to release performance reports for thousands of teachers after a state court on Tuesday declined to hear a final appeal from the city's teachers union to keep the information private.


The reports, which rate about 12,500 teachers in fourth through eighth grade, were created in 2008 as part of a push to evaluate educators using student test scores. They use a formula to try to isolate each teacher's effect on student performance, adjusting for factors such as poverty, class size and absenteeism.


About a dozen news organizations, including The Wall Street Journal, requested copies of the reports in 2010, but the United Federation of Teachers sued to block the release on privacy grounds.


State officials hired a company to create similar reports about all teachers statewide. The city decided in August to use the state's formula in the future, to avoid what appeared to be a duplication of efforts.


UFT President Michael Mulgrew said releasing the reports is "particularly inappropriate" because the city will abandon its formula going forward. He said the city's formula relies on "bad data and an unproven methodology with a huge margin of error."


Reports like those set to be released by the city will eventually be used as part of teachers' overall job evaluations. Under a law passed in 2010, it will be easier to fire teachers with two straight bad evaluations. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed giving permanent raises to those teachers with top marks.


Matt Mittenthal, a spokesman for the city's Department of Education, said that the data would be released "in the coming weeks."

 Subscribe in a reader