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Teachers can’t expect privacy, city responds to union lawsuit

City lawyers have filed their response to the teachers union’s lawsuit, arguing that the city has to release teachers’ effectiveness scores because teachers do not have an expectation of privacy.

In seeking to prevent the city from releasing 12,000 teachers’ ratings and names to reporters, the United Federation of Teachers has argued that doing so would violate teachers’ privacy. The brief city lawyers submitted last week responds that all public employees, teachers included, don’t have this right. It states:

“Public employees generally lack an expectation of privacy in information concerning their performance of public functions.”

In their brief, city lawyers also noted that the agreement between former Deputy Chancellor Chris Cerf and former United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten to keep the ratings confidential did not protect them against a Freedom of Information request. The brief states:

“Petitioner’s Memorandum opens by citing, at page 1, a 2008 letter from a Deputy Chancellor of DOE to the UFT agreeing to keep teacher data information confidential in the event it became the object of FOIL requests. However, an agency’s agreement to maintain confidentiality is of no consequence if it is obligated under FOIL to disclose requested information.”

The full brief is below.