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Union formally appeals court’s decision on teacher ratings

As expected, the city teachers union today formally appealed the State Supreme Court ruling that would allow the city to make public teachers’ names and performance ratings.

On Monday, Justice Cynthia Kern ruled that the city must respond to media outlets’ Freedom of Information Law requests for Teacher Data Reports with individual teachers’ names attached. The union had sued to stop the release, arguing that releasing individuals’ performance ratings would illegally invade teachers’ privacy. The union also argues that the ratings are too flawed to be made public.

In its brief appeal, the union argues that the lower court erred in its interpretation of the law, saying that the judge should have determined whether the city could legally deny the media organizations’ request.

In the original decision, Kern ruled that the city had not acted in an arbitrary or capricious manner when it decided to release the teacher rankings, but explicitly did not make a judgement on whether the city could legally have chosen not to make the ratings public under the Freedom of Information Law.

In a statement released to reporters when the decision was handed down on Monday, city lawyer Jesse Levine said that the city would respect the union’s appeal and will not release the ratings before a second court has ruled.