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NYC teacher rankings released

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New York City on Friday distributed the rankings of thousands of public school teachers, despite opposition from the teachers union, which went to court in an unsuccessful bid to prevent their release.

The rankings track 18,000 math and English public school teachers from fourth through eighth grades over a three-year period from 2007 to 2010, The New York Times reported.

The rankings link student achievement to the teachers responsible for their progress.

The United Federation of Teachers fought unsuccessfully to prevent the public release of the data after five media organizations filed Freedom of Information Law requests in 2010 for the ratings after the Los Angeles Times published similar data for 6,000 Los Angeles teachers.

The UFT has argued that the methodology in assessing the teachers is flawed and is based on standardized tests that were discredited after the state Education Department said they had become too easy to pass.

"The Department of Education should be ashamed of itself," UFT President Michael Mulgrew said in a statement. "It has combined bad tests, a flawed formula and incorrect data to mislead tens of thousands of parents about their children's teachers."

The teachers had already seen their own reports, but Friday's release makes them available to parents and others. Educators are concerned that parents may misinterpret the ratings. Critics say numerous factors, including a child's home life, parental support, health issues and other distractions also affect a student's performance beyond the classroom.

Schools chancellor Dennis Walcott has said he is concerned the rankings would be used to highlight individual teachers and hold some up to ridicule or shame.

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