Brian Davison had to go to court to pry loose state data about student performance in the public schools. Now teachers are going to court to keep him from sharing it.
Davison, a Loudoun County, Virginia resident, sought data on student growth percentiles (SGPs), a measure of how well students progress from year to year. The Department of Education didn’t want to release it, and the Virginia Education Association didn’t want it to. But last January Richmond Circuit Court Judge Melvin Hughes rejected the argument that releasing the data would necessarily compromise student privacy. He ordered the data released, with identifying information redacted.
Teachers don’t like that one bit, because data about student progress can be used to measure teacher performance. And if there is one thing the public education system does not like, it’s competition — either with private schools (through school choice), or with alternative public schools (through charter schools) or among teachers themselves (through merit pay). The education establishment is dedicated to the proposition that all mentors are created equal, and any suggestion that some might be better than others is anathema.