LOS ANGELES — The performance ratings of individual teachers in the city school district are matters of keen public interest and should be released to the Los Angeles Times, a judge ordered Thursday.
L.A. County Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfant ruled that the public interest in access to the ratings outweighed any teacher expectations of privacy under the California Public Records Act. He rejected arguments by the Los Angeles Unified School District and United Teachers Los Angeles that the records were confidential personnel information that, if released, would create discord, stigma, embarrassment, difficulty in recruiting teachers and other harm.
“The public has an interest in disclosure of the scores because they reflect on both student achievement and teacher performance, as well as on LAUSD’s choices in allocating time and resources,” Chalfant wrote.
However, he said that the decision was a “close call” and that he had been “wringing my hands, Hamlet-like” over it. He also said he personally believed that disclosure was not good public policy, but that “my personal beliefs are not relevant.”
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