Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Union leader calls on L.A. teachers to boycott Times

To absolutely nobody's surprise, A.J. Duffy, one of the most backward union leaders in the country, is trying to intimidate the LA Times by organizing a boycott (which will, of course, fizzle).  He's right that this article isn't fair to many teachers who will be identified as ineffective even though some of them probably aren't.  This raises troubling privacy issues, especially since tests alone, even when used in conjunction with a good value-added analysis, aren't a sufficient way to properly evaluate teachers (contrary to union talking points, NOBODY thinks this is the case).


So why do I think this reporting by the LA Times is so important and why did I call it "breakthrough journalism"?  Because it's going to force both the unions and the school district to stop the unconscionable status quo, whereby NO teachers are evaluated in any meaningful way at all – where 99% of teachers get a satisfactory rating, every probationary teachers gets lifetime tenure for merely having a pulse, etc.


The Los Angeles teachers union president said Sunday he was organizing a "massive boycott" of The Times after the newspaper began publishing a series of articles that uses student test scores to estimate the effectiveness of district teachers.

"You're leading people in a dangerous direction, making it seem like you can judge the quality of a teacher by … a test," said A.J. Duffy, president of United Teachers Los Angeles, which has more than 40,000 members.

…The paper received nearly 500 reader comments on Sunday's article. And nearly 300 teachers submitted e-mails to The Times to ask for their own value-added scores.

Many teachers were highly critical of The Times' decision to publish educators' names and their results. One teacher called it "a disgrace." Others, however, said it would foster a healthy discussion.

"Open debate and full disclosure will force those in charge to do something rather than play defense," said Gary Hubbert of Palm Springs in an e-mail to reporters.

Supt. Ramon C. Cortines acknowledged last week that the district had not made good use of its own data, which he called the best in the country. He endorsed moving forward with value-added as one measure of teacher effectiveness.

Later in the week, Cortines asked state lawmakers to push through reforms to allow the district to make decisions based on teachers' effectiveness, not just seniority.


Union leader calls on L.A. teachers to boycott Times

A.J. Duffy objects to the paper's analysis of the effectiveness of more than 6,000 elementary school teachers.

August 15, 2010,0,857875,full.story

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