April 2014

CEA Advocates for Members

Fights state's request to release teacher evaluations

CEA advocates for members and pro-education policies at the local, state, and federal levels, advancing and protecting the rights of teachers and improving public education in Connecticut.

A compelling example of this advocacy focuses on a recent case where CEA fought to keep teacher evaluations confidential. The state had asked a Hartford Superior Court judge to "compel" some of the state's lowest-performing school districts to release thousands of teacher evaluations.

The state subpoenaed the Bridgeport, Danbury, Hartford, New Britain, New London, Norwich, Plainfield, Waterford, and Windham school districts for their teacher evaluations for use in an upcoming trial to determine if the state is spending enough money for students to receive an adequate education.

CEA leaders and staff understand that teacher evaluations are highly sensitive and must be kept private and confidential— and reacted with the full force of the organization. In a signed affidavit to the court on March 3, CEA President Sheila Cohen explained that Connecticut law protects teachers' rights and ensures that teacher evaluations can be released to third parties only with the teachers' express consent, or for child abuse or neglect investigations—thus making the evaluations immune from civil discovery requests.

Cohen wrote:

The confidentiality of teacher evaluations is important because teachers have been evaluated with the understanding that this information was to be kept confidential. To allow these evaluations to be disclosed, even in redacted form, and without consent of teachers breaches the confidentiality our teachers anticipated when their respective evaluations were placed in their file. Further operating under this presumption of confidentiality, teachers may have taken different measures to challenge parts of the evaluation process had they known that these evaluations would now be made available to unknown parties. Ordering the production of teacher evaluations pursuant to a civil discovery request would set a dangerous precedent.

The state withdrew its request for all individual teacher evaluations and is now seeking aggregate summaries of teacher evaluations that will not include any information identifying an individual teacher's performance.

"This is a big win for Connecticut educators," said Cohen. We are absolutely thrilled that teachers' rights continue to be protected and their evaluations will remain confidential."

Check out our other stories

Prev Next View All Stories

back to top...