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LA Times Reporter Takes Some Heat in Berkeley Over Teacher Suicide

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LA Times reporter Jason Felch sat in on a panel at UC Berkeley yesterday to discuss the Times’ recent controversial series on teacher evaluations and the paper’s decision to publish the names and scores of the teachers in those evaluations. From the sound of it, Felch was on receiving end of some flack in the wake of the suicide of fifth-grade teacher Rigoberto Ruelas–who family members and teachers union officials say may have been driven to suicide by the Times’ publishing on his teacher evaluation scores.

The San Jose Mercury News has more:

Sophia Rabe-Hesketh, a UC Berkeley statistician, drew applause when she concluded that such data sets shouldn’t be used for high-stakes decisions. She said the current “value-added” models don’t take into account other factors that affect student test score gains, such as the school’s leadership, environment, materials and curricula.

“My solution to all these problems is do not use teacher value-added for high stakes decisions, and do not use them for naming and shaming,” Rabe-Hesketh said.

Anthony Cody, a former Oakland middle schoolteacher who now serves as a mentor in the district, said that while evaluations must improve, the series was an example of a growing hostility to teachers.

Cody went on to call Ruelas’ death “the first casualty in America’s war on teachers.”

Previously on FBLA:

  • LA Times Responds To Teacher Suicide
  • LA Times Implicated in Teacher Suicide

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