Dylan Scott is a GOVERNING staff writer.E-mail: email@example.com
After Freedom of Information Act requests from various local news outlets and an accompanying lawsuit, the New York City Department of Education released data reports Friday on 18,000 teachers in the city's public schools, the New York Times reports.
The reports rank individual teachers based on their students' performance in math and English over a five-year period, concluding with the 2009-2010 school year. According to the Times, a spokesman for the department said that more than 500 teachers ranked in the bottom 5 percent for two or more years, while nearly 700 placed consistently in the top 5 percent.
City education leaders cautioned against reading the reports too literally, according to the Times, pointing out that there are high margins of errors and some teachers are being rated on a fairly low sample size: as low as 10 students in some cases. The newspaper noted 77 percent of the teachers receiving reports were still employed as educators by the city.
The reports are also noteworthy because 20 percent of the state's new teacher evaluation systems will be based on student growth on statewide exames, according to the Times.
Teachers have already seen the reports, according to the newspaper, but this is the public's first opportunity to access such detailed information. The city teachers union filed a lawsuit seeking to block the reports' release, but a state judge denied their motion, the Times reported.
On the department's website and in an op-ed published in the New York Daily News, New York City schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott urged against publishing the names and scores of individual teachers. The Times has indicated that it plans to make the rankings available for searching on its website, and will allow for teachers to refute their reports.
The 18,000 reports are available for public consumption on the education department's website.