Saturday, October 02, 2010

Dr. Shaffer's Open Letter to Los Angeles Times on VAM

CMO Corporate Charters discriminate against SWD, Special Ed, and ELL students!
The Times' ill-conceived campaign to rate public school teachers on the basis of a badly-flawed and highly dubious process called "value added analysis" has claimed its first victim. Inexplicably, The Times has chosen not to offer an apology for the great pain it has inflicted on many teachers who now bear the stigma of "ineffective" or, as in this case, "less effective."

Supt. Ramon Cortines, however, has issued a hypocritical statement. Cortines, who had joined with The Times in demanding that value added analysis be a major part of the evaluation system, had the audacity to praise the deceased teacher as a "passionate and caring teacher" who made a difference in the lives of his students. "We need more teachers like him."

Good grief! Cortines and The Times declare the victim less than effective, but we need more like him. Yes, we do need more like the young man that irresponsible journalism and a hell-bent for "reform" LAUSD administration hounded to his death.

Let the journalists return to crusading for fewer potholes. Let the Superintendent and the one-track reform-minded crowd on the LAUSD board leave the evaluation of teachers to educators, not statisticians. Let The Times publicly admit its responsibility in this tragic event and turn its reporting on education over to those who know teaching because they've been there.

Ralph E. Shaffer
Professor Emeritus, History Cal Poly Pomona


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