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NYC Teachers Union Fights to Keep Test Scores Secret
posted by: Alix | October 25, 2010, 04:51 PM   

The New York City school system announced plans last week to work with the media to publish "value-added" scores and other data from nearly 12,000 teachers. For years, the information has been seen in private by administrators and the teachers themselves; however this release would allow the general public to see the raw data that's spells out teacher performance and student achievement.

The American Federation of Teachers, the teachers union that represents the New York School system, has filed suit to block the school system from releasing the information. By Thursday, they had agreed to delay the release until a court hearing in late November.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has said about making scores public, "Parents and community members have the right to know how their districts, schools, principals and teachers are doing. It's up to local communities to set the context for these courageous conversations, but silence is not an option."

However, the need for transparency in public schools is a concept with which the AFT is obviously not comfortable. Michael Mulgrew, president of the New York City AFT, said that the information is "misleading", arguing that it would give thousands of parents "erroneous information".

This New York City fight for transparency comes on the heels of a fight in Los Angeles over the publication of value-added scores. The publication caused a slew of controversy, including debates, protests, and even an apparent suicide over the release.

New York City Education officials maintain they find no exemption in the state law requiring the scores be kept private and planned to release the scores to the media last Friday.

In an op-ed in the New York Post, Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education Joel Klein stated, "We aren't naive about the impact this release could have on our teachers, which is why we hope that no one misuses the data or views it as an opportunity to scapegoat teachers. Our teachers deserve the utmost respect."

A hearing slated for November 24th will be the determining factor in the scores release.

What do you think about the release of this information? Does the public have the right to know?
Comment below.

Comments (1)Add Comment
written by E. Jill, October 25, 2010

I completely agree with this move. And I support Klein's comment about not scapegoating teachers. And I do think that we as teachers need to be willing to allow the world to see what the students we teach are producing, whether or not it affects our jobs.

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