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Arne Duncan sides with city in debate over teacher ratings

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is throwing his support behind Chancellor Joel Klein’s decision to release individual teacher’s effectiveness ratings to the press.

Just before the city and union agreed to postpone any release of teachers’ ratings that included their names, Duncan sent a statement to reporters in which he seemed to take the city’s side.

“I give New York credit for sharing this information with teachers so they can improve and get better,” he said.

Duncan was more elliptical in suggesting whether other school districts should follow New York’s lead and release teacher effectiveness data.

“I also think that parents and community members have the right to know how their districts, schools, principals and teachers are doing. Its [sic] up to local communities to set the context for these courageous conversations but silence is not an option,” he said.

Duncan also supported the Los Angeles Times’ decision to publish teachers’ ratings in August. At the time, he said that releasing the ratings to the public would be a way of singling out and rewarding good teachers.

The statement did not address the teachers union’s concerns that the ratings are not a reliable way of measuring a teacher’s effectiveness.

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