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New York City delays releasing controversial teacher ratings

October 21, 2010 |  4:18 pm

The New York City school system agreed Thursday to delay releasing teacher effectiveness ratings based on student test scores until after a court hearing in late November.

The nation's largest school district announced plans earlier this week to give several media groups "value-added" scores and other data for nearly 12,000 teachers. The teachers union filed a lawsuit to stop the action Thursday in Manhattan Supreme Court.

The New York City Department of Education has calculated value-added scores for many of its instructors since 2008, but had agreed to try to keep them private under an agreement with the United Federation of Teachers, which represents New York's instructors.

Value-added analysis uses a student's past performance on standardized tests to estimate a teacher's effectiveness in raising scores.

The Los Angeles Times published a series of stories in August based on a value-added analysis of seven years of test scores obtained from the Los Angeles Unified School District using the state Public Records Act. Several New York media organizations filed requests for city schools' value-added results for individual teachers shortly after The Times began publishing its series.

New York City education officials said they could find no exemption in state law to keep the scores private and planned to release the scores to the groups Friday. 

The department agreed with a judge's request to delay releasing the information until after a hearing Nov. 24. A spokeswoman said the department still believes it is obligated to release the data. 

-- Jason Song