FishbowlDC TVNewser TVSpy LostRemote AgencySpy PRNewser GalleyCat SocialTimes

Posts Tagged ‘Rigoberto Ruelas’

LA Times Wins ‘Philip Meyer Award’ For Controversial Teacher Story

The LA Times earned a vindication of sorts, after it was announced last Friday the paper won the IRE‘s “Philip Meyer Award” for its controversial story on “value-added” ratings for Los Angeles teachers–in which the Times published an index of teachers’ scores on its website. A short time after the story broke and teacher scores were posted, a low-scoring South Gate elementary school teacher named Rigoberto Ruelas committed suicide. United Teachers Los Angeles president A.J. Duffy was quick to blame the Times for Ruelas’ death, citing journalistic irresponsibility in publishing Ruelas’ score.

The judges, obviously, weren’t buying it. Here’s what they had to say:

“Grading the Teachers” is a first-rate example of strong watchdog story-telling combined with innovative use of social science methods. Indeed, the point of the project was the failure of Los Angeles school officials to use effective methods to measure the performance of classroom teachers. The Los Angeles Times, applying a method called gain-score analysis to a huge database of individual students’ test scores and their teachers, identified the most and least effective teachers based on how much the students’ scores improved. The Times hired a national expert in gain-score analysis to do the data crunching, adding credibility to the results, but also did additional statistical analysis to identify high- and low-performing schools and otherwise verify their findings. In identifying and rating 6,000 teachers by name, the Times outraged the teachers’ union, but the series has prompted district officials to begin negotiating with the union to use the gain-score method in evaluations. Another sign of the impact of this series is that newspapers across the country have begun requesting similar data from local school districts.

Read more

Mediabistro Course

Middle Grade Novel Writing

Middle Grade Novel WritingStarting January 15, work with a literary agent to write your middle-grade novel! In this course, you'll learn how to develop strong characters, write compelling dialogue, master the art of revision, and market your work to publishing houses and agents. Register now!

Contemplating the Death of Rigoberto Ruelas

LA Times columnist Sandy Banks was at the funeral of teacher Rigoberto Ruelas and penned a column over the weekend. It’s an interesting piece that navigates a pretty fine line–acknowledging that Ruelas was beloved as a teacher by students, parents and the community at large, while largely dismissing the notion that publishing “value-added” test scores on the Times’ website, depicting Ruelas as a “less effective” teacher, could have contributed to his suicidal depression.

On my drive to work that morning, I listened to callers on KPCC’s AirTalk, many of them parents like David, who applauded The Times for naming names, raising a ruckus, sparking a national debate that might hurry the pace of local reform.

“We need that. … Teachers can’t hide,” David said, his voice breaking as he talked about moving his daughter from school to school in Los Angeles. “She lost two years,” he said, because she got stuck with teachers who were inadequate.

But I got a different message in the church that night, from the burly man who broke down at the mike and the mothers wearing sunglasses to hide their swollen eyes. They told stories in Spanish that I didn’t quite understand, about bicycles and shared sandwiches and music lessons, but there was no mistaking the love in the air.

To them, some things might matter more than a 10-point jump on a math exam. Ruelas earned their gratitude and their confidence; he reminded them of all their children could accomplish.

Previously on FBLA: LA Times Responds To Teacher Suicide