Education

NYC Teacher Stats to Go Public, Plus D.C.'s Michelle Rhee Gets (More) Political

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New York teachers have been suing to keep their performance stats on the QT, but a judge ruled this week that value-added data, which compares student test score at the beginning and end of their time in a teacher's classroom to rate her performance, should be free:

The ruling would allow the New York City school district to release performance rankings for more than 12,000 of its teachers to the media outlets that have requested the information….

The rankings at issue in this court case—called the teacher data reports (TDRs)—were developed four years ago for more than 12,000 of the city's 80,000 public-school teachers as part of a pilot project.

At the time, the district promised to keep those ratings private, but in her ruling, New York State Supreme Court Justice Cynthia Kern said that the promise doesn't matter.

While the unions will appeal to keep the data locked away from the public, despite plans to begin using value added figures to account of 25 percent of a teacher's evaluation, starting in 2013. 

A similar data dump in Los Angeles caused a heck of a ruckus, but it remains to be seen if parents will be able to use the data to take control of their kids' education.

Rhee, pictured with data

Meanwhile, controversial former D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee gives an interview revealing her plans to revamp the nation's education system from a perch at a newly-formed PAC in the mold of the AARP or the NRA, Students First. Rhee's reforms in D.C.'s schools were aggressively data driven, and that hasn't made he many friends among union types. Of course, her rhetoric is unacceptably violent and will probably cause a crazy person to shoot some people at a grocery store:

What kind of activism are you hoping for from parents?

In California, there's a new law called the Parent Trigger. It says that if 51% of parents sign a petition, they can take over a school or turn it into a charter. In November, I went and met with a group of parents trying to pull the trigger in Compton. My job was to rally the troops. It was terrifying to hear some of the parents' stories. This group was about 75% Latino, 25% African-American, and some of them had been told, "If you sign the petition, you will get deported." They were scared. If 51% of the people in that community are willing to say, "Enough is enough" anyway, that's huge.