The teachers union for the L.A. Unified School District was granted court permission Thursday to join a Los Angeles Times lawsuit seeking access to teacher ratings so it can argue they are based on an unreliable mathematical formula and should not be disclosed to the public.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfant granted the motion by United Teachers Los Angeles to join the lawsuit and argue against disclosure of the ratings, which attempt to isolate a teacher’s effect on raising student test scores by controlling for poverty and other outside factors. But he said the issue of whether the ratings and method used to calculate them, known as value-added, are reliable or not would not be a major issue in the lawsuit.
“My focus here is: Are these public records and are they exempt” from public disclosure laws, Chalfant said in the court hearing.
The district has provided The Times with school-wide value-added scores but only anonymous individual scores, denying requests for the names of teachers or their schools. The district also denied requests to provide identifiers that would allow the Times to link a teacher’s value-added scores across years.