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healthpellets
08-16-2010, 08:35 AM
oh boy. nothing like accountability.

http://www.latimes.com/news/la-me-teachers-react-20100816,0,4844920.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+latimes/news+(L.A.+Times+-+Top+News)

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.

By Jason Song and Jason Felch, Los Angeles Times

August 15, 2010

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.

Say what? I remember taking many a test in school which was a measure of my effectiveness as a student. Though I suppose we have different rules for those administering the tests...

Duffy said he would urge other labor groups to ask their members to cancel their subscriptions.

Based on test score data covering seven years, The Times analyzed the effects of more than 6,000 elementary school teachers on their students' learning. Among other things, it found huge disparities among teachers, some of whom work just down the hall from one another.

What? And why can't we get rid of those teachers who have a detrimental effect on their students?

After a single year with teachers who ranked in the top 10% in effectiveness, students scored an average of 17 percentile points higher in English and 25 points higher in math than students whose teachers ranked in the bottom 10%. Students often backslid significantly in the classrooms of ineffective teachers, and thousands of students in the study had two or more ineffective teachers in a row.

The district has had the ability to analyze the differences among teachers for years but opted not to do so, in large part because of anticipated union resistance, The Times found.

Well that's not a surprise. The district could have done something about the differences between good teachers and shitty teachers, but they were scared of union backlash. Shocking.

The newspaper plans to publish an online database with ratings for the more than 6,000 elementary school instructors later this month.

After learning of the analysis and the database last week, union leaders began making automated calls to teachers objecting to publication. In the Friday evening call, Duffy said the database was "an irresponsible, offensive intrusion into your professional life that will do nothing to improve student learning.

"Our attorneys are looking into the legalities of this database," he said in the recorded message. "This is part of the continuing attack on our profession, and we must continue to fight back on all fronts."

On Sunday, Duffy declined to talk about any legal action or other protests besides a boycott. "I'll keep that to myself," he said.

Oh, I guess it's not legal to maintain and review public data that is also maintained by the public school district. Geezus.

Duffy attacked the reliability of standardized tests in general, but then defended the performance of his members in part by pointing to the rising graduation rates and Academic Performance Index scores at many campuses. The API is a separate statistical measure for schools which, at the elementary and middle school level, is entirely based on standardized tests.

Last week, the union president told reporters that he thought test scores could be useful as feedback for teachers but should not be used for evaluation.

So wait. Are standardized tests good or bad indicators of performance, cause you seem to want it both ways.

The Times analysis used a "value added" statistical analysis of math and English scores from the city school district the nation's second largest to estimate the effectiveness of third- through fifth-grade teachers.

The analysis compared each student's prior performance to project his or her future test scores. The difference between the projection and the student's actual performance was the "value" the teacher added or subtracted. The results were averaged over at least 60 students per teacher to ensure statistical reliability.

The method, although controversial among some teachers and policy experts, has been embraced by the Obama administration and other education leaders.

Interesting. So the good teachers actually improve student performance, while the shitty teachers retard the child's development. But yet, the teacher's union REFUSES to use the data to root out teachers that are prohibiting the proper academic development of our nation's youth. Nice.

One advantage is that it largely controls for outside influences like poverty and family background. Other districts are also using it as part of evaluations or the basis for merit pay programs, moves that have generated fierce resistance from some teachers unions and skepticism from some experts.

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.


Why in the hell was that ever the policy? Why are you making decisions that affect the future of this country based on seniority? That is ludicrous! "Oh, sorry Molly. While your performance has been superior as well as that of your students, we have to make some cuts and you're lowest on the totem poll." Brilliant. A recipe for success.

John Deasy, the district's recently appointed deputy superintendent and considered a likely candidate to replace Cortines, called The Times statistical approach "careful" and said he hopes to include value-added as a component of teacher evaluations. He said, though, that the majority of an evaluation should be based on teacher observation and other factors.

The current evaluation system consists of brief, preannounced classroom visits. Nearly all district teachers receive passing grades, The Times found last year.

Well there's a surprise.

Deasy said teacher effectiveness is "paramount; the absolute center of how we're going to improve student achievement in this district."

The Times will publish the database later this month after teachers have been given a chance to view and comment on their scores. The deadline for teachers to comment for the initial posting of the database is Thursday at noon.

Garcia Bronco
08-16-2010, 08:49 AM
Thank goodness. Where would we be today if not for the awesomness of Unions? 1910 is haping up to be a good year. RIP Teddy!

Brock
08-16-2010, 09:36 AM
The scores on those tests actually should be used as an indicator of how good the parents are, not the teachers.

healthpellets
08-16-2010, 09:39 AM
The scores on those tests actually should be used as an indicator of how good the parents are, not the teachers.

the "value added" method reveals how good the teachers are.

the baseline score relates to parenting.

NewChief
08-16-2010, 09:43 AM
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Brock
08-16-2010, 09:44 AM
If you'd kick the dumbshits out that aren't there to learn anything I'd put our teachers up against anyone else's.

HonestChieffan
08-16-2010, 09:49 AM
If you'd kick the dumbshits out that aren't there to learn anything I'd put our teachers up against anyone else's.


balance the equation. Kick out the dumbshits who are not there to learn AND the teachers who dont give a damn....

Brock
08-16-2010, 09:50 AM
balance the equation. Kick out the dumbshits who are not there to learn AND the teachers who dont give a damn....

Can't say I've ever met one.

fan4ever
08-16-2010, 10:32 AM
The scores on those tests actually should be used as an indicator of how good the parents are, not the teachers.

THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Damn Straight.

alpha_omega
08-16-2010, 12:50 PM
The LA Times is still around?

DaneMcCloud
08-16-2010, 01:09 PM
Just one more reason why my child will never attend an LA Unified school.

healthpellets
08-16-2010, 01:19 PM
If you'd kick the dumbshits out that aren't there to learn anything I'd put our teachers up against anyone else's.

we're talking about elementary school kids, man. do you have 3d graders talkin shit about how they'd rather be out on the corner than learning the multiplication tables and that's it's bullshit they gotta sit in this room with some moron talkin bout math?

i can see that in junior high and high school, but elementary school?

Saul Good
08-16-2010, 08:01 PM
Can't say I've ever met one.

My wife is a teacher. I've met plenty at her school alone, and she teaches in one of the best districts in the country.

BIG_DADDY
08-16-2010, 11:43 PM
Just one more reason why my child will never attend an LA Unified school.

**** public schools. My kid starts in a private school this year at 3. The standards there are so much higher it's not funny. Full sports program, full music program and students there compete at the highest level like in the brain bowl. BTW they do it for far less per student than the school districts. One more reason to privatize.

DaneMcCloud
08-16-2010, 11:46 PM
Fuck public schools. My kid starts in a private school this year at 3. The standards there are so much higher it's not funny. Full sports program, full music program and students there compete at the highest level like in the brain bowl.


Yeah, that's what we're doing as well, but $15k a year isn't cheap.

There are a few charter schools that have excellent accreditation's but the way they teach is odd to me. I'm not stating it's wrong, just that it's odd.

BIG_DADDY
08-16-2010, 11:49 PM
Yeah, that's what we're doing as well, but $15k a year isn't cheap.

There are a few charter schools that have excellent accreditation's but the way they teach is odd to me. I'm not stating it's wrong, just that it's odd.

That is one of many reasons I moved my family. The price was similar here. The tuitions where he is going are
TUITION FEES:
10 Month plan:
Pre-Paid Plan:

Pre -Kindergarten/Pre-School
1st/2nd student
$170.00

$1,605

Pre-Kindergarten/Pre-School
3rd student
$155.00
$1,480

Kindergarten -
1st/2nd student
$285.00
$2,675

Kindergarten -
3rd student
$255.00
$2,375

Elementary -1st student
(1st - 5th grade)
$410.00
$3,895

Elementary -2nd student
( 1st-5th grade)
$350.00
$3,295

Elementary-3rd student
(1st-5th grade)
$315.00
$2,975

Middle School-1st student
(6th-8th grade)
$525.00
$4,995

Middle School-1st student
$500.00
$4,795

Middle School-2nd student
(6th-8th grade)
435.00
$4,150

DaneMcCloud
08-16-2010, 11:53 PM
That is one of many reasons I moved my family. The price was similar here. The tuitions where he is going are


That's awesome, Dude! Good for you and your family!

:thumb:

BIG_DADDY
08-17-2010, 12:01 AM
That's awesome, Dude! Good for you and your family!

:thumb:

There were more expensive ones but it was quite obvious from the time we stepped into that school that that was going to be the place for him. I had to drag him out of there. They has a huge emphasis on physical fitness which I thought was great. The food could have been better but what do want for that price, we will pack his lunch.

alnorth
08-17-2010, 11:59 PM
This is sort of a "well, duh" obvious thing we all know but the idiots in the teachers unions dont want to admit. Some teachers are very good at their jobs, and other teachers should be flipping burgers. Every one of us can think back and remember a couple good teachers we had and a lot of bad ones. We know this is true, and now we can get the stats to prove it beyond our anecdotal stories.

The thing that is cool about this study is that they actually used a fairly (for a newspaper) rigorous statistical analysis. They controlled for outside factors such as background, geography, etc with the value added approach. One of the startling findings is that apparently you are not necessarily more likely to find more "good" elementary teachers in white public schools than in urban public schools. (but you can in private schools)

Why? The LA school district does not value teaching ability at all. It's all about tenure over there, teachers are not rewarded or punished for results.

Now, your background, parents, opportunity, etc obviously makes a huge difference in where you are when you walk into the teacher's door, it isn't fair to just straight-up compare scores from public schools in poor areas to scores from public schools in rich areas and call the teachers in the second group of public schools more skilled. However, the teachers who are able to take you, wherever you are in the bell curve, and improve your standing by the time he or she is done with you, was apparently scattered throughout the LA unified school district.

They discussed examples of 2 teachers in the same school randomly getting kids from the same pool teaching the same subjects down the hall from each other for years, one of them was statistically shown by the study with a couple cohorts of students to be an improver, the other shown by a couple cohorts to be a crappy teacher, and those results were consistently predictive year after year with subsequent classes.

In other words, little Johnny in a public school in beverly hills might walk into the door in the 65th percentile while little Jose who only sort of speaks english in south LA might walk into the door of his school in the 15th percentile, but they are equally likely to run into a teacher who can improve them, equally likely to at least have a teacher who can keep them progressing at their level of the curve and equally likely to run into a lazy-ass useless teacher who retards their growth.

The most interesting outcome from this LA Times story, if it is applicable in other districts (or at least the states where it is hard to fire a teacher), is that you should be less concerned with what school you are going to, and more concerned with what teachers you'll get. Thats kind of tough though, because people dont get teacher data and even if they did, teachers are usually randomly assigned.

This is why private schools are huge in CA, they dont have unions. The bad teachers get fired, so if you can shell out the money for private school in CA, you improve your odds of hitting a streak of OK and good teachers.

Garcia Bronco
08-18-2010, 08:10 AM
I went to private school. Before that I went to public school. I was told by a public school math teacher that I would never understand algebra. Yeah, I graduated college with a minor in math passing, among others, a linear algebra proof course and multi-variable vector calculus. Puck Fublic Schools. Get your kids out if you can.