Sunday, October 02, 2011

A glooming peace this morning with it brings…

Onward! 4LAKids
4LAKids: Sunday 2•Oct•2011
In This Issue:
DEATH+REDEMPTION: a tragedy in three acts at South East High School
Spreading the Gospel of Bill+Eli throughout the land: LESSONS FROM L.A.
HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & THE NEWS THAT DOESN'T FIT: The Rest of the Stories from Other Sources
EVENTS: Coming up next week...
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IT’S A TRAGEDY IN THREE ACTS that opens with a headline “Girl fatally stabbed at high school” and ends with the tagline that the quarterback “completed 14 of 22 passes for 205 yards and two touchdowns with one interception”.

In between/in flashback the star running back is sidelined with an incurable disease – and a dark tale of star cross’d love by way of Shakespeare telling-an-older-tale …and West Side Story and Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo+Juliet. Heroes try to intervene. Déjà vu.

South Gate is not fair Verona and every city is. And every adolescent broken heart is forever.

No one lives their life as really or as fully as when we are crossing from childhood to whatever comes next …and there have always been knives and passion.

These are very, very hard times to make that crossing: The economy, the poverty of ideas and ethics. The pressure to perform. The wars.

The times are not unique; there have been poverty and crisis and war and dark times before. “Why when I was kid…” “The Greatest Generation.” “The Sixties.” “R+J’s fair Verona.”

“‘We want to remind students that violence is never the answer,’ Deasy said.”

It’s a multiple choice test, Dr. Deasy. And in the crucible of today violence is undeniably a choice, however wrong. Men in trailers in Nevada fly robot airplanes that kill other men half the world away.

A comment Facebooked/Tweeted to the Times says much of it with a sincerity that transcends the limits of the idiom and the mangled grammar:

Really, I dont know why you guys are all like “oh I regret going to that school” and stuff. It was only that a guy got sad cuz his girlfriend dumped him and he started stabbing at anyone he saw and who came at him. I mean it, its like a population of people, bad things always happen and u cant prevent them but enough for you to regret going to a school? I bet you that all of u guys, (before the stabbing) that you would be really happy to have gone to this school. Southeast High School is a very good school to go to, but like the world not many people are nice.

It isn’t iambic pentameter but it’s authentic school spirit by way of the Beach Boys and Grease and Nirvana and Kanye West.

From The Times:

“Marisol Aguirre's son graduated last year and she still volunteers at the school.

“Citing staff layoffs since her son left, she said: ‘This school wasn't like this. They had more protection, more help.’”
In The New Regime of LAUSD Family and Community Involvement Ms. Aguirre is no longer a parent and therefore has no say in things.

THESE TEN DAYS between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the Days of Awe; not just for repentance and reflection and introspection …but for pulling it back together and proceeding.

CINDY SANTANA, the young woman who was killed, will get no older than seventeen. She will not graduate from high school. The young man who killed her probably won’t either; API and AYP don’t matter if they ever did. The running back may never play another play.

Please. Every moment is unique. And every young life.

¡Onward/Adelante! - smf

THE REST OF THIS WEEK’S NEWS was about John Deasy and Monica Garcia going to Dallas and telling them how to run their school district. John Deasy telling the LA school board what not to say. Folks scrambling after not enough money, Adults cheating on kid’s tests, Beaudry pretending not to get rid of elementary librarians (…and if they’re gone it wasn’t us!) It was Banned Book Week and successful little schools were named as failures under NCLB. ¡Congratulations to the LACOE Teachers & Parents of the Year!
…all worth noting, none as important as the above.

○ 4LAKids notes that Los Angeles Daily News education reporter Connie Llanos is departing the DN for other things. Thank you Connie and good luck!

DEATH+REDEMPTION: a tragedy in three acts at South East High School
act one:
GIRL FATALLY STABBED AT SOUTH EAST HIGH SCHOOL: Teen's boyfriend is booked on suspicion of murder in the attack at South East High School. Two who tried to intervene are hurt.

By Sam Quinones and Rick Rojas, Los Angeles Times |

October 1, 2011 - A teenage girl died after a lunchtime stabbing Friday at South East High School in South Gate, and another student has been booked on suspicion of murder. A school dean and one another student were also injured.

The 17-year-old girl, a senior, was stabbed in the side and back , allegedly by her estranged boyfriend. She died of complications during surgery at St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood about 7:45 p.m., Los Angeles Unified School District Police Chief Steve Zipperman said.

Abraham Lopez, 18, a senior at the school, is being held without bail, Zipperman said. The girl was not identified pending notification of her family, he added.

The hospital was briefly locked down late Friday in response to a bomb threat in the parking garage. Authorities said it was somehow related to the stabbing.

The injured dean, who is also a teacher at the school, and the injured male student, an offensive lineman on the school's varsity football team, had stepped in to break up the fight. Both sustained non-life-threatening wounds, said Monica Carazo, a district spokeswoman.

Students said the couple had been together on and off since 9th grade and would walk the halls holding hands. The attack broke out shortly after 11 a.m., at the beginning of lunch break. Witnesses said the fight was over a breakup, and that the boy began choking the girl and put her in a headlock.

"She couldn't do nothing," said a 17-year-old senior, who witnessed the incident. "I'm still shaking. It's a shocker."

Ninth-grader Giselle Noriega was eating lunch when she said she noticed the couple arguing.

Suddenly, the boy grabbed the girl in a headlock and began punching her, said Noriega, 14. They fell to the ground, as the dean stepped in to stop the quarrel.

As havoc erupted, Noriega said, the football player, Jorge Garcia, ran to help the teacher break up the fight. "The guy stabbed [Garcia] in the arm. A lot of people were trying to separate the fight," she said.

Garcia, a junior, was supposed to play in a game Friday night. His coach, Derwin Henderson, said Garcia received about 15 stitches before being sent home from the hospital.

School officials said they will contact parents to explain what happened. Counselors were on campus to assist students, said L.A. Unified Supt. John Deasy.

"We want to remind students that violence is never the answer," Deasy said.

Some parents waiting outside the school were incensed. Marisol Aguirre's son graduated last year and she still volunteers at the school.

Citing staff layoffs since her son left, she said: "This school wasn't like this. They had more protection, more help."

●Times staff writer Ben Bolch contributed to this report.

Act Two: Flashback to Thursday
SOUTH EAST'S GERARDO LEOS FACES A DAUNTING TEST: A promising sophomore linebacker-running back is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. His fellow Jaguars, who host Garfield on Friday, plan to honor 'the rock of our team.'

By Ben Bolch, LA Times |

September 29, 2011, 9:40 p.m. - The right arm that had helped carry Gerardo Leos onto the varsity football team as a sophomore was numb.

The right leg that had helped earn him the nickname "Tasmanian devil" was weak.

It was July, and the normally fleet linebacker-running back from South East High in South Gate was seemingly stuck in slow motion. He could barely lift one of his legs over a set of ropes during practice drills.

"I knew there was something wrong," said Derwin Henderson, Leos' coach, "because he's a really quick kid and he's always first in line."

The sensations in his extremities were initially dismissed as nothing more than heat exhaustion. When the symptoms later returned, there was fear they might be tied to cancer.

Last weekend came the diagnosis, two words that could rock even the most unflinching teenager: multiple sclerosis. There is no cure for the progressive autoimmune disease of the central nervous system.

"It's shocking because I'm 15 and I'm going through this," Leos said this week.

He's not enduring it alone. On Friday, when unbeaten South Gate (4-0) plays host to Garfield (0-4) in its first game since Leos learned of his disorder, the Jaguars plan to honor the player Henderson described as "the rock of our team" because of his hardworking, fearless demeanor.

"It's all him," Henderson said. "Every piece of tape, everything is going to have No. 14 on it."

That would be Leos' jersey number, one the sophomore hopes to wear again in a game before the end of the season.

He would not be the first athlete to compete with multiple sclerosis. UCLA's Robert Kibble played on special teams as a freshman in 2005 before being forced to retire because of his condition. Stan Belinda, a major league relief pitcher, played for two seasons after his diagnosis in 1998.

Leos wants to add his name to the list. He has an appointment with a neurologist Oct. 17, at which point he is supposed to learn more about his prognosis.

"Hopefully I get to play soon," he said.

Dr. Leigh Maria Ramos-Platt, a neurologist with Children's Hospital Los Angeles, said Leos could play again as long as he could tolerate the physical rigors of the sport.

It seems folly to rule out anything for the undersized overachiever who made the varsity last summer without playing one down on a lower-level team. Coaches first observed the 5-foot-7, 145-pound mighty mite plowing through junior varsity defenders in spring practice, prompting a Jaguars assistant to ask why Leos wasn't on the varsity.

Henderson confessed he didn't even know the kid's name. The coach told Leos he would make the varsity only if he figured to play. That seemed increasingly likely after Leos continued to impress during a summer passing league.

But the frightening episodes of numbness, weakness and tingling in his arm and leg commenced shortly thereafter. Leos would sprint for a few seconds before having to stop, the right side of his body unwilling to cooperate.

Visits to clinics and specialists ensued. Symptoms abated and returned, only to vanish again. Leos played in the Jaguars' first three games, establishing himself as a special-teams dynamo.

"He's like a kamikaze," running back Chris Ochoa said. "Every time we kicked the ball off, it was him getting the tackle."

Last week, Leos began suffering headaches. He was rushed to the hospital, enduring a four-hour MRI exam, before receiving his diagnosis.

"Once they told me the results," he said, "there was nothing I could do but stay strong."

Henderson delivered the news to his players Monday. Several asked about the particulars of the disease. The coach explained it was a serious disorder, something that was more likely to affect Leos in years to come and might require occasional hospitalization.

While Leos appeared upbeat when he returned to campus Wednesday, his mother, Ofelia, acknowledged the family feared for his future.

"For Gerardo and me, for us, the truth is we feel really bad," Ofelia said in Spanish. "I'm going to tell you something: I'm putting everything in God's hands and the hands of the doctors."

For his part, Henderson hopes Leos can fulfill his dream to play again. Not that he would let Leos decide whether to return to the field.

"If it was up to him," Henderson said, "he would dress and play on Friday."

Times staff writer Kevin Baxter contributed to this report.

act three: High School Football
SOUTH EAST ENDS TRYING WEEK WITH 31-28 WIN OVER GARFIELD: One South East player is wounded in campus violence, and another is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The Jaguars build a lead and hang on for the victory over league rival Garfield.

By Ben Bolch, LA Times |

September 30, 2011, 11:01 p.m. - South East's 31-28 victory over Garfield on Friday night did more than give the Jaguars their first victory in the history of an Eastern League rivalry that has spanned seven years.
It also served as a tribute to two South East players who were sidelined after a tumultuous week.

Running back-linebacker Gerardo Leos is out indefinitely after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Offensive lineman Jorge Garcia was sliced in the arm Friday morning while assisting a female classmate who was fatally wounded in a campus stabbing.

"We've always said this game was going to be for them," said South East cornerback Juan Nevarez, who made two big plays to preserve the victory. "They've always given their all."

After Garfield had shaved a 31-14 deficit with consecutive touchdowns, the Bulldogs (0-5) drove to the South East 40-yard line with 11 seconds left. On third down, Nevarez broke up a long pass. On fourth down, he tackled Lance Fernandez on a hook-and-ladder play to end the game.

"Those were the two biggest plays I've made this whole year," Nevarez said.

Leos was with the Jaguars (5-0) from the start, carrying the team flag when players ran onto the field before the game. After being hospitalized earlier in the day, Garcia joined his teammates on the sideline in the fourth quarter.

South East tailback Robert Lewis, who rushed for 168 yards and two touchdowns in 18 carries, wore Leos' No. 14. So did Jaguars Coach Derwin Henderson.

"It's a pretty emotional day for them," Henderson said of his players. "There's been a lot of crying going on. But our kids were determined. They just believed in themselves, that's the biggest thing."

South East quarterback Jonathan Santos completed 14 of 22 passes for 205 yards and two touchdowns with one interception.


By Mike Szymanski, Studio City Patch |

Sept. 30, 2011 - 10:44am -- It’s her first partial year as principal at Valley View Elementary School, and the school test numbers came in well this year.

Three subgroups that failed last year, including the “socio-economically disadvantaged,” scored in the proficient range, and the entire school got among the highest Academic Performance Index point increases in the East Valley region.

Yet, Principal Susan Kim was forced to send out letters Wednesday that explained to parents that this tiny school in the Cahuenga Pass was now labeled a “Program Improvement” school under the federal No Child Left Behind Act—and the letter was to let parents know that they could transfer to another school if they wanted to, and that the Los Angeles Unified School District would pay for their transportation.

The principal gave the bad news at Back-to-School night on Tuesday and sent the official LAUSD letter out on Wednesday.

“I’ll be honest; it’s a little disappointing, but we are on our way up, and we will make sure that we get to proficient levels in all our categories,” Kim said.

A school gets labeled “Program Improvement” if one of the subgroup categories falls below a set proficiency target. At Valley View there are 17 identified subgroups, distinguished by ethnic background, race, English-speaking, special needs or economic needs.

For the second year in a row at Valley View—which has 250 students and is one of the smallest schools in the LAUSD system—the 54 Latino and Hispanic students did not score high enough in the English-Language Arts test. They scored at 51 percent and needed to get to 67.6 percent.

Now, the school has a label on it that is sometimes difficult to get out of, but Valley View—although situated in the wealthy neighborhoods of the Hollywood Hills and has a population of mostly Studio City and Toluca Lake residents—does get Title 1 money because it has enough socioeconomically disadvantaged students from other parts of the city who choose to be there. That $4,000 in Title 1 money will be used to help with programs to target the students who need to improve their test scores, Kim said.

Some of the parents are disappointed because the label tarnishes their secret little gem of a school.

“This is very distressing to me, because when I looked at schools for my daughter, I specifically did not look at schools labeled ‘Program Improvement’ and I would have overlooked this school, which I love,” said Bonnie George, who is now the co-president of the school's PTA. “I know that we will be fine next year.”

Kelly Cole, the other co-president of the PTA, also purposefully picked Valley View for her son after doing a lot of research on local schools, in different districts and both public and private. She said, “Statistics never tell the whole picture. It’s obvious after you spend 10 minutes at the school that you see how active and involved the parents and teachers are with the students, and how exceptional a school it is.”

The school Academic Performance Index for the past five years increased 13 percent:

  • 2007 746 score
  • 2008 764 score
  • 2009 827 score
  • 2010 820 score
  • 2011 845 score

Halfway through last year, Harold Klein, who was the principal for the past six years at the school, was forced to resign, and Kim took over in January.

Klein said, “It is a shame. These test scores do not show how hard these teachers worked to improve the scores overall. For a whole school to be labeled like this for one category just seems silly.”

It’s a problem echoed at other schools. North Hollywood Senior High Principal Randall Delling has been protesting the unfair federal restrictions practically since they were implemented. His school, while winning national math and science honors, has had the “PI” label on it for three years. One of the three categories that hasn’t improved in his school is the English test for the students labeled “English Learners.”

At Walter Reed Middle School in Studio City, Principal Donna Tobin did not want to take away from the success of her school hitting 828—higher than their goal of 821.

“We are thrilled with the score,” Tobin said. “The teachers, staff, parents and students all worked so hard, and we did better than what we hoped to do.”

She added, “But no, we’re not out of the waters with Program Improvement.”

For the fifth year, Reed was considered a “PI” school, and last year nine of their 33 categories did not make proficient marks. Those categories included math scores for American Indian/Alaskan Natives and math scores for socio-economically disadvantaged students; and both math and English test scores for “Students with Disabilities,” English learners and Hispanic/Latino students.

At Valley View, Kim said she has a plan to tutor students that may need help with testing, and she said she wanted to start a club with those who scored a perfect 600 on the math and English tests—and they had a surprising lot of them. “I want to see if those students will help their fellow students out,” she said.

Kim added, “This label is simply misleading, it’s very misleading.”

Studio City Patch's series from last year on Valley View : A LITTLE SCHOOL IN CRISIS |

  • A Little School in Crisis, Part 1: How a Tiny School Helped Save Their Principal—At Least for Now
  • A Little School in Crisis, Part 2: Losing Back-up Staff Creates Unsafe Conditions at School
  • A Little School in Crisis, Part 3: How the PTA Saved The Library
  • A Little School in Crisis, Part 4: With More Budget Cuts Looming, What Now?

Spreading the Gospel of Bill+Eli throughout the land: LESSONS FROM L.A.
By Keven Ann Willey, Vice president and editorial page editor -THe Dallas Morning News |

12:20 PM on Tue., Sep. 27, 2011 | We had an interesting Editorial Board meeting this morning with the president of the Los Angeles Unified School District board and the district's new superintendent. (Well, semi-new. He's been there about a year.) They are in town for a conference sponsored by the Dallas Chamber later today to talk about education reform. What an inspirational confab we had!

I would like to pluck President Monica Garcia and/or John Deasy and transplant them to Dallas. They both exude positive energy, plus an aura of order, accountability and a real inner core dedicated to change.

Our very own Bill McKenzie has written a good bit on our blogs and on our newspaper Editorial and op-ed pages about some of the successes in LA. For me, meeting these people and conversing with them about their challenges, ideas and vision really drove home many of the points Bill has made in print about lessons for Dallas from this district.

Among the most interesting headlines from this meeting that left a lasting impression on me:

Both Garcia and Deasy had warm praise for LA Mayor Villaraigosa, who has grabbed the issue of education reform by the scruff of the neck and really shaken it to attention. They report that the majority of the school board and administration welcome the mayor's intervention in education even though it's not technically part of a mayor's charter power. They see him seeking the same goals - better education for kids in a long-underperforming district - and welcome his elbow grease and bully pulpit leadership.

This district is governed by seven board members and oversees something like 650,000 kids. (Is that even possible?) By comparison, DISD is governed by a nine-member board and oversees something closer to 150,000 kids. (And I use the word "governed" loosely since the board of trustees historically has had a tough time showing sustained leadership of any sort.) Interestingly, Garcia said her board splits roughly along 5-2 lines (the five being helped to election by Mayor Villaraigosa and the two not). It sounds as though they are still able to make considerable progress on really tough issues.
One of those tough issues is performance evaluations for teachers and principals, which is made even more complex by California's labor union protections. Still, the district is on track to make "student achievement over time" a "significant" component of its performance evaluations.

Currently, student achievement plays zero role in the evaluations. We asked what "significant" meant. It seems as though ongoing negotiations may settle out at "no more than 30 percent", meaning that up to 30 percent of a principal's annual evaluation will be based on mulitple student achievement measures. I'd like to think there are lessons for DISD here!

Deasy sounded a decidedly upbeat DISD note when he observed that DISD is currently in crucible moment. The district has pockets of demonstrable successes, which can be used as a basis for scaling to greater success, he said; it is about to begin interviewing for a new superintendent and it is building meaningful external partners with Commit! with the support of the Dallas Chamber.

I agree - if only the DISD Board of Trustees properly exploits this opportunity....

…But wait – there’s more!


By Keven Ann Willey/Editor | | Bio

8:14 AM on Thu., Sep. 29, 2011 | Permalink

Careful readers of this blog might remember my post from earlier this week expressing enthusiasm for the ideas and reform energy shared with our Editorial Board by the president the Los Angeles Unified School District, Monica Garcia, and its superintendent, John Deasy. Here's a link to the full post, in which I noted there are lessons for DISD from the LAUSD experiences.

That post elicited an email from a DISD official that was worded very carefully to acknowledge the exciting leadership in LA but continued:

Just wanted to give you a couple figures as food for thought: LA Unified's most recent, self-reported (2009) 4-year cohort graduation rate is 52%.

Dallas ISD's most recent 4-year cohort graduation rate (2010) is 74.6%, with gains each of the last 3 years.
I am not suggesting in any way that Ms. Garcia and Mr. Deasy are responsible for their numbers nor am I in any position to say that they are not up to the task because, by all accounts, it looks like they are. All I'm saying is that, while Dallas ISD still has plenty of room for improvement - and we all know it, particularly in the area of college readiness - more progress has been made in the last few years than our community seems to acknowledge.

This email troubled me on a number of levels. I tried to explain to the writer my concerns. Here's how I responded. See what you think.

Thank you for your email commenting on my blog post yesterday.

I can understand that you sometimes feel as though the pockets of success within DISD get overlooked by critics. And there are times when I'd agree with you. (In our editorials, we are careful to reflect this nuance; i.e. we even predicated our invitation to the writers for our special Points section last Sunday with a recognition that test scores and graduation rates in some areas of the district are rising and that the focus on teacher quality seems to be increasing.)

But really, this isn't the issue. The issue is scalability. The fact is DISD has had a difficult time taking those successes and scaling them in a sustainable way across the district. That is the challenge for DISD. It is the challenge for many other urban districts as well.

When administration officials keep zeroing in on pockets of success you perpetuate the image - inadvertently, I'm sure - of a district in a defensive posture.Seeking more attention for those pockets of success diverts attention and energy from the real task at hand: How to scale those successes across a district that is still under serving so many of its students. It has the effect of diluting the sense of urgency around the need to change, improve, reinvent, innovate.

To you, I'm sure it feels like you're simply seeking recognition of good. But to those outside the DISD bubble, it feels like a district blind to the forest for the trees.

Frankly, I believe much of DISD's challenge starts with the school board. The fact that the three most recent seats up for election went unchallenged is simply outrageous. The district's external partners share responsibility here - both in failing to field candidates and, in previous elections, for the types of candidates they did field.

But that's another issue we can discuss another time. In the meantime, I hope you'll think about my points above. I offer them constructively. I am a product of public schools and a DISD supporter.

PS: One of the things I like about the LAUSD website is how clearly the district states its five goals and then displays tracking information in an easily understandable manner to show progress toward those goals. (Again, you've plucked one measurement out of that panoply of information which compares unfavorably to Dallas to bolster DISD's position.)

The LAUSD link you provided is to data from a year ago; Deasy spoke of the same goals/measurements yesterday.

My point is that I'm not sure if you asked DISD's leaders what the district's top five goals are that you'd get the same five goals from everybody, never mind any sort of shared understanding about performance against them.

No wonder scalability is an issue.


Op-Ed in the LA Times By Marcus A. Winters |

October 2, 2011 - Two decades of empirical research in education have confirmed at least one fact that just about everyone already knew: There are good teachers and bad teachers. The difference between your child being assigned to Mrs. Smith's class or to Ms. Johnson's down the hall can be as much as a grade level's worth of learning by the end of the school year.

The wide variation in teacher quality suggests that some teachers deserve higher salaries than others, and indeed today's public school systems have a tiered system of rigid salary ladders in which teachers are given extra compensation for factors commonly thought to be related to effectiveness. Pay differences are based primarily on, first, years of classroom experience and second, additional academic work toward an advanced degree.

There's nothing inherently wrong with a compensation system that rewards experience and credentials. Business professionals pursue MBAs to garner higher salaries, and actuaries get salary bumps as they move toward becoming fellows of the Society of Actuaries.

But a compensation system for teachers based on additional academic credit and experience makes sense only if those factors are actually related to classroom effectiveness. They aren't.

In a new study soon to be published in the peer-reviewed journal Economics of Education Review, my coauthors and I sought to measure the relationship between student achievement and those factors typically used to determine teacher compensation. Using data from all test-taking students in Florida over a period of five years, we found no discernible relationship between a teacher's experience and credentials and the academic gains made by their students during the school year.

Our results confirm the findings of a wide body of existing research: A master's degree is unrelated to a teacher's effectiveness in the classroom. Further, our research dovetailed with an expansive body of research showing that while teachers get better at their jobs during their first several years in the classroom, these improvements level off after three to five years.

That's not to say that no teacher has gotten better because of additional experience or studying for a master's degree. But overwhelming evidence shows that such attributes are not generally related to teaching quality.

In fact, just about nothing that can be found on a resume tells us very much about how well a teacher will perform in the classroom. According to research by economist Dan Goldhaber, easily observed characteristics such as experience, education level and certification status only explain about 3% of a teacher's measurable influence on student achievement.

It's easy to see how the system developed to compensate teachers for credentials and experience. Those things are tangible achievements, and it wasn't illogical to suppose that more experienced and better-credentialed teachers would be more effective. But modern research findings have made that supposition indefensible.

The vast majority of what makes one teacher better than another comes from attributes that are not easily quantified. That's not so shocking, actually. All teachers need the skills that they acquire with experience and effective training. But great teachers also have innate characteristics such as patience, kindness, indefatigable dedication and the knack for getting reluctant students excited about learning.

If the goal is to reward great teachers so they stay in the classroom, we won't find out who they are by looking at their college transcripts. We would do far better to identify effective teachers by evaluating their actual performance in the classroom. The ubiquity of standardized testing in public schools, coupled with modern statistical techniques, has provided us the necessary tools to do this.

Currently, public schools make no meaningful effort to identify effective teachers. Even in the worst-performing public school systems, it is common for 98% or more of teachers to receive a "satisfactory" or higher designation on their evaluations. Everyone understands that such results are highly inflated.

Over the last several years, researchers have been working hard to develop ways to identify the effect that individual teachers have on their student's test scores. Such "value-added" measures of teacher quality are far from perfect and thus should not be used in isolation to make employment decisions. But they are much better indicators of a teacher's effectiveness than are attributes such as credentials and experience. Public schools should utilize such quantitative measures of teacher quality along with qualitative observations of their performance to identify their most effective teachers and compensate them accordingly.

Effective teachers deserve to be rewarded for their achievements. Targeting higher salaries to the best teachers, rather than to the most experienced and best credentialed, would also help schools to retain those teachers who make the biggest difference for kids, while sending a signal to the least effective teachers that they might want to think about other careers.

Rewarding teachers for attributes that are unrelated to how well they perform in the classroom makes no sense. We need instead to focus on identifying the system's most effective (and least effective) teachers and using that information to decide how much we should pay them.

●Marcus A. Winters is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and an assistant professor at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. His book, "Teachers Matter," comes out early next year.

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DEATH+REDEMPTION: a tragedy in three acts at South East High School: act one GIRL FATALLY STABBED AT SOUTH EAST...

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Torlakson: NCLB WAIVER TO COST BILLION$ - claims it creates huge unfunded mandate: By John Fensterwald - Edu...

LA COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION NAMES 16 TEACHERS-OF-THE-YEAR: County honors 16 teachers for work By Connie Llano...


LASD, LAPD, LA CITY TRUANCY POLICY TUNEUP IN THE WORKS: By Rick Orlov, LA Daily News Staff Writer from the Contr...

JOHN DEASY'S QUEEN ANTOINETTE MOMENT: "Let them eat e-books!": "Right now, only higher-income readers can afford...

MisEducation Nation: CORPORATE MEDIA + CORPORATE EDUCATION REFORM: from Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting | reblo...
25 Sep

EVENTS: Coming up next week...
*Dates and times subject to change. ________________________________________
Phone: 213-241-5183
Phone: 213-241.8700


What can YOU do?
• E-mail, call or write your school board member: • 213-241-6386 • 213-241-6180 • 213-241-5555 • 213-241-6382 • 213-241-6388 • 213-241-6385 • 213-241-6387
...or your city councilperson, mayor, the governor, member of congress, senator - or the president. Tell them what you really think! • Find your state legislator based on your home address. Just go to: • There are 26 mayors and five county supervisors representing jurisdictions within LAUSD, the mayor of LA can be reached at • 213.978.0600
• Call or e-mail Governor Brown: 213-897-0322 e-mail:
• Open the dialogue. Write a letter to the editor. Circulate these thoughts. Talk to the principal and teachers at your local school.
• Speak with your friends, neighbors and coworkers. Stay on top of education issues. Don't take my word for it!
• Get involved at your neighborhood school. Join your PTA. Serve on a School Site Council. Be there for a child.
• If you are eligible to become a citizen, BECOME ONE.
• If you a a citizen, REGISTER TO VOTE.
• If you are registered, VOTE LIKE THE FUTURE DEPENDS ON IT. THEY DO!.

Who are your elected federal & state representatives? How do you contact them?

Scott Folsom is a parent leader in LAUSD and is Parent/Volunteer of the Year for 2010-11 for Los Angeles County. • He is Past President of Los Angeles Tenth District PTSA and represented PTA on the LAUSD Construction Bond Citizen's Oversight Committee for ten years. He is a Health Commissioner, Legislation Team member and a member of the Board of Managers of the California State PTA. He serves on numerous school district advisory and policy committees and has served as a PTA officer and governance council member at three LAUSD schools. He is the recipient of the UTLA/AFT 2009 "WHO" Gold Award for his support of education and public schools - an honor he hopes to someday deserve. • In this forum his opinions are his own and your opinions and feedback are invited. Quoted and/or cited content copyright © the original author and/or publisher. All other material copyright © 4LAKids.
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