L.A. Teachers Union Fears Data (Mostly Because They Don't Know If It's Singular or Plural)


The Los Angeles Times is tearing it up this week with their some-teachers-are-more-good-at-the-teaching-than-other-teachers series. The paper put together a database that ranks the effectiveness of the district's 6,000 teachers. It has promised to release the scores publicly—individual teachers can see their score in advance and comment—and the union isn't terribly happy about it. In fact, the union has called for a boycott.

downward sloping lines make me sad.

To his credit, Obama ed head Arne Duncan is backing the paper:

"What's there to hide?" Duncan said in an interview one day after The Times published an analysis of teacher effectiveness in the Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation's second largest school system. "In education, we've been scared to talk about success."

Meanwhile, in today's paper columnist Sandy Banks tells the story of Polytechnic High in Sun Valley, where principal Jan Fries-Martinez made a switch from this mindset:

"People who would say 'These are nice kids, but I really don't have them write in class because it makes them feel bad when they don't write well.'

To this one:

The reforms are being led by teachers now, Fries-Martinez said….Teachers who are not afraid to "keep going back to look at the data, because that's what tells us what kids still need."

NEXT: But Enough About ObamaCare...

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  1. As long as the kids don’t learn to think, the teachers’ union should be OK.

  2. The Cali teachers ought to lead class discussions on that Cordoba mosque at Ground Zero in NYC.

  3. If I had children, odds are I won’t, they would attend private schools. I don’t care if I had to work 20 hours a day to pay for it.

    1. Have 3 kids, none of them ever set foot in a public school. Damn near broke me, but I’m glad I did.

    2. If I had children, odds are I won’t

      Lucky for them.

      I keed! I keed!

      1. Oh trust me. A little me would be more than I could handle. It is lucky for them.

    3. I’ll eat store brand cat food if that will keep mine from having to go to public school.

  4. Wait. You can use data to evaluate if and by how much stimuli are related to responses? I didn’t think the Ed majors took real science classes.

  5. Qu’ ? in a school will reach, or a professor obligated, if an obvious statistically ineffective professor turns? The family members will fight, thus to n’ do they have this professor? The d’ student; ? a d’ strength; ? s’ train; ? they will take this teacher’ ? Category s? Like the professor the knowledge will treat the l’ ? call it l’ ? pressed Aktenineffctivene? this involuntarily? Nothing can come well out this! D’ It has employees correctly at l’ ? discretion and an expert would be necessary, which they discuss this at private sector with l’ ? Employee. He observes mine, there professors LAUSD for a process contently placing immediately is answers per year. If it is irresponsible, and probable person, published those the law crosses the l’ for; note; Attempt without analysis to the d’ group; ? Student at each instruction for the factors of the jets of the students with the discipline problems (those the governors often n’ ? they will withdraw themselves d’ not; ? a category) of the d’ student; ? Englishman of the d’ student; ? a minimum point, needs especial/de disturbed the students the persons, the equipped students, etc. professor d’ ? Englishman at the SAN of high Fernando (where very much d’ ? of l’ Go to municipality school of the children Broadous later). Ino is an excessive offence emotivaAM from persons, and walks it at l’ Affection as j’ ? this writes. Imag?nese, so that it is at a better sorggf?ltigen professor, who makes at its instruction, so that only per year for L.A for nation one prepares (c’ ? ?estschrecklich n’ ? Sad, shade of its former individual) for he sees so much a large part at qu’ to sum, which always reads it thinly at this; ? l’ ineffective existence professor, only to the l’ note one condemns; estudiandoyversuch simple d’ does not show; ? by examining its yearly with you during the duration, in addition, of this enough d’ Years therefore. The attempts have l’ ? Information those presents held back, interesting to period. L’ ? l’ effective education is differentiated so much more, where unique ” ? data.” ? And d’ ? at another part the schools publicise all numbers better in the place of at the d’ project; ? of sides a newspaper. The time could do so much much d’ Occupation the l’ means; Article of the messages in the best kind around qu’ examine it, there LAUSD it insist on the social promotion for the students, the don’ ? Meanings of the basis of the entrance of the t and in particular at l’ entsprech organ. In time this it’ ? Teachers, who degrade s under ” ? d’ ? l’ arise; ? analysis” ? extreme elements as the meant public services. The professors would have for qu’ are pushed; improve they their strategies continuing d’ ? Education? naturally. These articles will support this procedure? Ouais well. Owing to for the new right & quotverlustes; ? It hurls state-belonging at Teachers” ? Sump. I congratulate at its originality.

    1. If you can write this, thank a government school teacher.

      1. I assumed ESL and foreign keyboard.

    2. I think it’s machine-translated French.

      But the machine was insane.

      1. Prof. Farnsworth: And this is my universal translator. Unfortunately so far it only translates into an incomprehensible dead language.

        Cubert: Hello.

        Universal Translator: Bonjour!

        Prof. Farnsworth: Crazy gibberish!

      2. I believe it is a machine-based Klingon to Na’vi translation.

        1. I’ve heard this dialect before- I believe it is flim-flam?

          1. With a little work – it’s almost poetry:

            thus to n’ do
            Nothing can come well out this!
            Englishman at the SAN of high Fernando
            Sad, shade of its former individual – for he sees so much
            Teachers, who degrade
            l’ arise
            It hurls state-belonging at Teachers

            1. I’m a little disappointed that it wasn’t trying to sell Chinese shoes.

            2. I’m a little disappointed that it wasn’t trying to sell Chinese shoes.

            3. I’m a little disappointed that it wasn’t trying to sell Chinese shoes.

              1. Dunno about the Chinese shoes, but I emailed Cindy and got a sweet setup to help her Nigerian relatives roll over some assets.

                1. I love the Def Spam Poetry in my email inbox

            4. Vogon poetry.

          2. I’m a little disappointed that it wasn’t trying to sell Chinese shoes.

  6. It’s plural.

    1. Exactly, datum is singular.

      1. I don’t think they teach Latin in LA public schools, rob. Stop being such an elitist pig.

        1. data and datum are english words. I dont know what you are talking about.

          1. See? There you go again with “English words”. Does your elitism know no bounds?

            1. I blame the left-wing medium.

              1. Well, I did have a few teachers who were brain-dead, but they didn’t require a medium.

              2. You blame a left-wing medium. Would that be Jean Houston?

            2. Seriously, who calls it English any more? Do you pledge allegiance to the Queen?

              The proper term for our language is Freedom Fonics.

              1. I speak Murcan.

              2. Freedom Fonics

                I consume them with my Liberty Cabbage.
                And a nice Chianti.

          2. Datum: mid 18th century: from Latin, literally ‘something given’, neuter past participle of dare ‘give’

            1. I know my (dangling) participles are past their prime, but please don’t neuter them.

              1. I think it is your interjections that worries people.

                1. No, it’s his ejaculations.

                  1. As I am presently cyberslacking at work, I am NOT going to touch that link.

                    1. Wow, Shatner porn?

  7. The reforms are being led by teachers now, Fries-Martinez said….Teachers who are not afraid to “keep going back to look at the data, because that’s what tells us what kids still need.”

    And what the kids need is higher-paid teachers with better retirement plans. Plus lots of tenure.

  8. Hah! “In education, we’ve been scared to talk about success.”

    Is that “Where to find success?” or “Why don’t we have any success?” or is it not that they’re scared, they just don’t have any to talk about?

    1. he dont want hert teechurs self-esteem so he dont say failure

      1. Bigfoot? Is that you? I thought you were dead.

  9. L.A. Teachers Union Fears Data (because they like Voyager better than The Next Generation)

    1. Speaking of which, shouldn’t the android have been named “Datum”?

      1. Because there’s only one of him?

        1. But he had more than one bit of information in his brain-piece thingy, so “Data” would have been correct.

          Either way, Picard was a utopian douche. In the real timeline, after “Star Trek: Enterprise,” humanity became crap…even though the only reason to watch that show was Jolene Blalock as T’Pol.

        2. Pshaw! Data’s name clearly indicates his ability to acquire and disseminate mass quantities of useless information. He was the cyborg equivalent of a blog.

    2. I knew somebody would reference Trek before I did.

      1. I propose a new Internetz Rule:
        “A thread is over when someone references Star Trek. There are NO winners.”

        1. No, it’s fine until someone references Enterprise. THEN it’s over and no one is the winner.

          1. I don’t think anyone actually watched that show enough to reference it.

            1. I once watched 47 seconds of it while I was channel surfing.

              The Pain! The Pain!

          2. Oops. Sorry about that.

        2. I think the thread just needs to be over for the dweebs who made the Star Trek references. The rest of the purported adults can continue talking.

  10. “One is my name. The other is not.”

    1. I hate, hate, hate that “datta” pronunciation. How appropriate Pulaski used it.

  11. Once upon a time guilds actually drove out the untalented and incompetent. How quaint it all seems, now.

  12. It’s pur-nounced “Datur.”

  13. Speaking of words as ideology, I just heard a FOX News blond-bot say “homicide bomber” and it took me back…good times.

    1. Freedom Fries! Anchor Babies! Death Panels! Ground Zero Mosque!

      1. It’s funny ’cause it’s true.

  14. There are several different types of bad teachers.
    Some teachers are intelligent and motivated, but are using poor teaching methods. Hopefully, using data aggregates will convince them to change methods.

    As for teachers who are unmotivated, unintelligent, or both, that’s where abolishing the modern tenure system would come in really handy.

    1. agreed to both points.

  15. When students have no intellectual curiosity; no teacher can penetrate this. If they do, they will learn and accomplish even if taught by the local spinster in a barn.

    My take away from the second article was the above quote from a teacher. Effectively saying that students would be just as well served if teachers were replaced by any schmuck from the local temp agency.

    1. Disagree, in part. There are differences between students that teachers, good or bad, can never control for. Obviously, though, they can’t be the whole explanation for why some groups or schools or entire districts underperform. Not to mention that if you have intellectual curiosity but a bad teacher, you might learn a lot, but hardly what there is in the school curricula, so it’s still questionable on that front.

  16. The teechurz return fire, via WaPo

    When it comes to value-added measures, teachers and unions are right. The models aren’t reliable enough to evaluate individual teachers. But right now that doesn’t matter much.

    The mood today is that something has to be done about incompetent teachers. We’ve seen that mood in districts in New York City and Washington D.C. and now we’re seeing it in Los Angeles.

    We’re also seeing it at the federal level. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said that the publishing of the individual teacher’s scores is just fine.

    The people who feel that something must be done are right. In most districts there is not a mechanism by which to ensure that incompetent teachers are not teaching.

    But there sure as hell is a mechanism devoted to fighting tooth and nail to *prevent* incompetent teachers from being removed from classrooms.

  17. looking at that chart made me ill.

    It completely ignores measurement error, which ass tests have.

    1. “…ass tests…”?

      I think you meant to use the ring finger on your right hand, but accidentally used the one on your left hand.

      But it’s kind of funnier this way.

  18. some-teachers-are-more-good-at-the-teaching-than-other-teachers

    “The-teaching”. Making fun of the way foreigners often misuse definite articles is cute.

    NYT: There is a substantial gap at year’s end between students whose teachers were in the top 10% in effectiveness and the bottom 10%.

    IOW, all differences between teachers are insubstantial except for the worst 10%, and even then it’s iffy. Look up the stats on the schools they mention ( or google) and you’ll find no miracles in these still below-average schools.

    1. IOW, all differences between teachers are insubstantial except for the worst 10%, and even then it’s iffy.

      So what you’re saying is that we could get away with paying teachers a lot less, since it’s unskilled labor and one teacher is as good as another?

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