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Boston District Refuses Newspaper's Evaluation-Results Request

The Boston district refuses to turn over teacher-evaluation information to the Boston Globe in response to its open-records requests, the newspaper reported July 14.

The district says the records are part of personnel files and not public records.

As Education Week reported earlier this year, a handful of states have recently passed legislation putting teacher evaluations explicitly in the category of personnel records that cannot be disclosed under open-records laws. Massachusetts was one of them.

One wrinkle here, though, is that the newspaper wanted only aggregate information, not teacher-by-teacher results (as were published not long ago in The Los Angeles Times and in many New York newspapers.)

But, the district argued, "even the release of school-by-school teacher ratings and district-wide administrator ratings would run the risk of revealing the performance of a specific employee," the Globe reported.

The notion of publicly reporting evaluation results has been so contentious that even U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan changed his mind about the practice.

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