The ratings are imperfect, according to independent experts, school administrators and teachers alike. There are large margins of error, because they are generally based on small amounts of data. And there are many other documented problems, like teachers being rated even when they are on maternity leave.
Sure, the numbers are completely flawed, the algorithms that were used to come up with those numbers have margins of error bigger than the cocaine bags under Cathie Black's eyes, and some of the ratings will rank English teachers as math teachers or attribute the wrong numbers to teachers, but you know, it's the public's right to know this information.
Oh, plus the Times claims they've solved all of the problems inherent in the flawed Data Reports:
With SchoolBook’s partners at WNYC, The Times has developed a sophisticated tool to display the ratings in their proper context, a hallmark of our journalism.
And just in case the "sophisticated tool" created by the Times and WNYC STILL doesn't give enough "context" to the numbers and you feel slandered by the story, the Times invites you to become your own lawyer:
But we want to take that a step further, by inviting any teacher who was rated to provide her or his response or explanation. We are seeking those responses now, so they can be published at the same time as the data reports.
We plan to include those responses alongside the ratings themselves, so readers can consider them together.
If there were special circumstances that compromise the credibility of the numbers in particular cases, we want to know.
What self-serving horseshit the Times is spinning here.
They are publishing data that they know to be flawed, no "sophisticated tool" they develop is going to make that data any less flawed, and the Times and its outgoing education editor and soon to be Times Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren (who stirred up her own bit of controversy a few weeks ago with a tweet to a Palestinian-American author that ensures her stay at the Times Jerusalem news bureau may be brief and she'll be back covering teacher data reports before she knows it) can rationalize this all they want.
The fact is, the numbers are horseshit, the reports themselves are horseshit, the Times is horseshit for publishing them and Jodi Rudoren is horseshit for spinning the publication as some kind of public service.