LA teachers angry over data disclosure

Aug. 17, 2010 at 11:20 AM
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LOS ANGELES, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- Some Los Angeles teachers are angry over a newspaper's publication of teacher evaluation data, education officials said.

The Los Angeles Times disclosed an analysis of teacher effectiveness in the country's second largest school system, the Los Angeles Unified School District.

"What's there to hide? In education, we've been scared to talk about success," U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said after the Times's disclosure, adding that parents have a right to know if their children's teachers are effective at raising test scores.

Although the release of teacher data was endorsed by Duncan and a number of school districts throughout the country have adopted "value added" measures – a statistical reliance on standardized test scores to measure student learning – many teachers unions said the public disclosure of test results are "dangerous" and "irresponsible," the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

The value-added method tracks a student's standardized test performance over the years. But because the student is evaluated against his or her own record, the method measures many differences over which teachers have no control, the Times reported.

Duncan said parents have a right to know if their children's teachers are effective, and approved of the public release of information about how well individual teachers fare at raising their students' test scores.

California Secretary of Education Bonnie Reiss said the state will encourage districts to develop the value-added system and release teacher scores.

"Publishing this data is not about demonizing teachers. It's going to create a more market-driven approach to results," Reiss said.

The Los Angeles teachers union called for a boycott of the Times in protest of the data's publication, the newspaper said.

"Publishing the database is irresponsible and disrespectful to the hard-working teachers of Los Angeles," said the president of the California Teachers Association, David Sanchez.

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