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Teachers Union Seeks Appeal of Court Ruling on Ratings Release

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

education, classroom, school, school supplies, class, teachers, students (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

The teachers union claims that a state court "significantly narrowed" the rights of city teachers and all state employees this month when it found teachers' ratings could be released to the public, according to a request for an appeal filed Tuesday.

The teacher data reports are based largely on student test scores and were given to about 12,000 elementary and middle school teachers.

In its request for an appeal filed in the New York State Appellate Division, the union claims the appellate court's decision does "considerable violence" to the limited but real privacy protections of public employees.

It also claims the ratings aren't accurate, calling them "subjective, unreliable and non-final evaluative materials" that are "more likely to mislead the public rather than inform them."

The union sued the city almost a year ago to stop it from releasing the teacher data reports to the media. It lost its first round when a state judge sided with the city.

Last week, an appellate panel issued a four-page ruling that also sided with the city. It found "public policy records, like the ones at issue here, are presumptively open for public inspection and copying." It also said the ratings didn't fall within six specific examples of an "unwarranted invasion of personal privacy" under state law.

The city has said it will hold off on releasing the ratings until a decision is made on whether the union can take its appeal to the state's highest court.

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