October 21, 2010
City and union lawyers agreed in court today to postpone releasing individual teacher’s effectiveness scores until legal hearings are held next month.
In a meeting held with Judge Cynthia S. Kern in a Manhattan court this afternoon, city and union lawyers agreed to schedule a hearing on November 24 on whether the city should release the ratings with teachers’ names included. The teachers union sued the city to stop the release of the performance scores, arguing that releasing teachers’ names would violate their privacy and that the ratings are not yet complete and thus exempt from freedom of information laws.
In the meantime, the city has agreed not to release teachers’ names, but may give reporters more limited information, including possibly the data with the names redacted.
“Names you will not see until the 24th, that I can promise you,” said Charles Moerdler, a lawyer for the United Federation of Teachers.
The lawyer representing the city, Assistant Corporation Counsel Jesse Levine, said that the two parties would meet tomorrow to negotiate what, if any, information could be released before the November hearing.
“We’ll know tomorrow whether something will be released imminently or if there will be further discussion,” Levine said.
The city had previously said that it intended to release a list of individual teachers’ names tomorrow unless the court ordered it not to do so. Levine said that today’s agreement gives both sides the opportunity to fully flesh out their legal arguments.
“We think that it’s better for the city to do it this way rather than to have an order,” Levine said.
Under the agreement, which is binding under the judge’s order, the city has until November 12 to file a brief arguing that it is legal to release the list of names. The union will then have 10 days to file its reply.