Our frequent commentator who signs as Virginia SGP (Student Growth Percentiles) repeatedly argued on this blog and elsewhere that teachers’ ratings should be published. He sued in court, and guess what, he won.


Audrey Amrein-Beardsley, an expert on teacher evaluation who has warned that these ratings are fundamentally flawed, posted about his victory here. In her post, Beardsley explains the differences between SGP and VAM models. She doesn’t think much of either because teacher performance cannot be quantified or measured based on student tests; the scores are affected by many factors outside the teachers’ control. Not only are students put in the position of being able to fire their teachers by not scoring well, they also have the anxiety of knowing that a beloved teacher might be fired because of their test scores. We have yet to see a single district make big improvements because of the publication of teacher ratings. Both Los Angeles and New York City published the ratings, and nothing much has changed.


Nonetheless, Virginia (Brian Davison) has relentlessly advocated for the use of SGP and he initiated the court case to make his point. And he won. He posted here so many times that I limited him to no more than four submissions a day.


Beardsley writes:


In January, a Richmond, Virginia judge ruled in Virginia SGP’s favor, despite the state’s claims that Virginia school districts, despite the state’s investments, had reportedly not been using the SGP data, “calling them flawed and unreliable measures of a teacher’s effectiveness.” And even though this ruling was challenged by state officials and the Virginia Education Association thereafter, Virginia SGP posted via his Facebook page the millions of student records the state released in compliance with the court, with teacher names and other information redacted.


This past Tuesday, however, and despite the challenges to the court’s initial ruling, came another win for Virginia SGP, as well as another loss for the state of Virginia. See the article “Judge Sides with Loudoun Parent Seeking Teachers’ Names, Student Test Scores,” published yesterday in a local Loudon, Virginia news outlet.


The author of this article, Danielle Nadler, explains more specifically that, “A Richmond Circuit Court judge has ruled that [the] VDOE [Virginia Department of Education] must release Loudoun County Public Schools’ Student Growth Percentile [SGP] scores by school and by teacher…[including] teacher identifying information.” The judge noted that “that VDOE and the Loudoun school system failed to ‘meet the burden of proof to establish an exemption’ under Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act [FOIA].” The court also ordered VDOE to pay Davison $35,000 to cover his attorney fees and other costs. This final order was dated April 12, 2016.


“Davison said he plans to publish the information on his ‘Virginia SGP’ Facebook page. Students will not be identified, but some of the teachers will. ‘I may mask the names of the worst performers when posting rankings/lists but other members of the public can analyze the data themselves to discover who those teachers are,” Virginia SGP said.


Now that this information is publicly available, we can expect parents in Virginia to move to the most affluent districts, like the one Virgina SGP lives in, so they too can sign up for the “best” teachers and see their scores rise. And in two years, Virginia will no doubt outperform Massachusetts on the NAEP, as #1 in the nation.