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Was It Right to Publish L.A. Teachers' Ratings?

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Guest blogger Michelle: I am furious that the Los Angeles Times printed the names of teachers -- and their "ratings" -- in their paper. One teacher -- Rigoberto Ruelas, a 39-year-old elementary school teacher for Miramonte Elementary School -- who was reportedly stressed over his low ratings even committed suicide over the weekend, reports KTLA. Just tragic!

Our school, which is a hidden gem in the San Fernando Valley, has a teaching staff that is caring and wonderful -- particularly Mrs. K., the teacher that my daughter has had for the past two years.

failing grade
The first year my daughter had Mrs. K. was in second grade, and the class was a 2/3 split, meaning that it was half second graders and half third graders. Nobody was happy about this -- not the teacher, not the students and not the parents. My daughter came home complaining that she couldn't concentrate on her work when Mrs. K. was teaching the third graders. It was hard work for my child and hard work for the teacher, who was trying to juggle 25 kids with two different curricula. Mrs. K. had even volunteered to teach the 2/3 split, because she had the most seniority and the school was running low on teachers. And now she's being publicly humiliated for it! 

It wasn't the best situation, but Mrs. K. did the best she could, and now her name and rating -- based on that one particular school year -- has been published. She was listed as being the least effective of all the teachers in the school. Well, yeah, for a good reason, too -- which of course isn't mentioned! There are just too many factors to take into consideration to accurately decide which teachers are the most effective and which are the least. Every school year, the students (and their backgrounds) are different. 

I have a friend who works for the L.A. Times, and she says they were right to print this information because now the school district will have to do something about all the crappy teachers who can't be fired. I see her point: The move spurred a dialogue and brought to light a problem in the school district. But how will parents be able to differentiate between a teacher who's crap and one who has simply had a bad year because of circumstances outside of her control? 

Moms, what do you think?


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