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Warning of implications, UFT files appeal in teacher ratings case

The city’s plan to release teachers’ rating data to news organizations threatens public employees across the state.

That’s one argument the United Federation of Teachers is making as it moves toward its final attempt to prevent teachers’ individual ratings from going to press. Last week, the state’s Appellate Court echoed a low-level judge in ruling that the ratings, known as Teacher Data Reports, are public information and should be released.

Today, the union asked the Appellate Court for permission to take the case to the Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court. If the Appellate Court doesn’t grant permission, the union can also ask the Court of Appeals itself. The Court of Appeals doesn’t accept every case brought before it, and if it declines to hear this one, the Appellate Court’s decision would stand and the union would be out of options.

The Court of Appeals is more likely to take on cases that are potentially precedent-setting. Today’s filing stresses the “considerable violence to the limited but real privacy protections public employees possess” that the release of Teacher Data Reports could inflict, in addition to noting, as the union has done repeatedly, flaws in the reports themselves.

“In finding that the subjective, evaluative, and pre-decisional information contained in the inaptly named Teacher Data Reports, or ‘TDRs,’ is not exempt from public disclosure under FOIL, this Court has significantly narrowed the rights not only of new York City teachers but of all public employees in the State of New York,” the filing begins.

The UFT’s complete filing is below.

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