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Calif. Newspaper Can't Access Teacher Growth Scores With Names, Court Rules

A state appeals court in California has overturned a lower-court ruling ordering the Los Angeles district to turn over a statistical measure of individual teachers' performance to The Los Angeles Times, the newspaper reports.

The newspaper had previously received the "academic growth over time" ratings, which are based on student-achievement growth on standardized tests with controls for demographic characteristics, and used them, in 2010, for a controversial project in which teachers' growth scores were released publicly.

In 2012, however, the district and the teachers' union agreed to release such information informally to teachers and for the first time consider such records as confidential. The district continued to supply the newspaper the scores, but with individual teachers' names removed. The newspaper sued, arguing that the information was in the public interest. 

Superintendent John Deasy, who has often clashed with the union, sided with it in the lawsuit. He said in a deposition that releasing the names would cause conflict among parents and teachers.

United Teachers Los Angeles is pleased with the result, but the newspaper could appeal to the state's supreme court. Stay tuned.

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