Grading Gotham’s Teachers — No Ruling Yet

In a case the NY Times said would “propel New York City to the center of a national debate about how student test scores should be used to evaluate teachers,” a bunch of lawyers fought it out in a NYC courtroom yesterday.

The question is not whether to have a teacher evaluation program tied to student performance –  the City school system has been rating 12,000 elementary and middle school teachers for several years already — but whether to release the “data.”  (See also Anna Phillips at Gotham Schools and Beth Fertig at NPR.)

Sound familiar?  (See L.A. Times, here and here. )

The union has argued that the reports were inaccurate and to release them would be an invasion of teacher privacy.

As Maura Walz of Gotham Schools has written:

The union has been encouraging teachers to report errors on their reports since city officials announced in October that they intended to release the reports publicly… [T]he union filed nearly 20 examples of individual data reports that it says show errors.

David Shultz, the lawyer for the news organizations, which includes the Times, argued yesterday that errors have nothing to do with it:

FOIL [Freedom of Information Law] is about letting the public know what’s going on here…. If it is not statistically meaningful, the public should be debating that.

No one seems to know when the judge will rule, but it was assumed that no matter what she says, the decision will be appealed.  (Does Wikileaks know about this?)

–Peter Meyer

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