The Los Angeles Times is facing a boycott from the city’s teachers union after publishing a study that analyzed the effectiveness of over 6,000 elementary school teachers.
Union president A.J. Duffy instead of praising the study for its transparency and the potential effect it will have on improving teaching and therefore education for students in the L.A. Unified School District is asking other labor groups to join his effort to boycott the paper.
The Times isn’t backing down from this threat and is planning on publishing a database of the teacher evaluations after a brief comment period by the teachers so that the public can judge for themselves if their children are receiving a good education.
Duffy doesn’t like this concept and has blasted the evaluations which are based on test scores while at the same time citing an index that measures academic performance in a positive light but which is also based on standardized tests. So he wants it both ways. Criticize test scores when they shed a negative light on his members while praising them when they do. He would make the perfect politician.
The news for the teachers wasn’t all bad. The Times discovered good teachers as well and if Duffy was really interested in education and not self preservation of the union he should join the bandwagon for more teacher accountability but then again that would run counter to the union way.
For far too long educators have been more focused on self-esteem issues and a gradual dumbing down of the curriculum which has resulted in more students being ill prepared for college and unable to compete in the world marketplace. By evaluating teachers and removing those that don’t meet minimum standards as Michelle Rhee has done in Washington, D.C. will cause some short-term pain the benefits for the students and our country will be felt for decades to come.
Duffy needs to get off his duff and fight for good education no matter what the cost to the union. Once again though I won’t be holding my breath waiting for this to happen.
Don Irvine is the chairman of Accuracy in Media.
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