California Roundup: Teachers Want Better Information As Long As Nobody's Allowed to See It


Come for the girl surfers, stay for the government pension!

* School's in for teachers: Los Angeles Times debuts its "value-added" database of L.A. Unified School District teachers. Unified Teachers Los Angeles hits back, but concedes the point by calling the LAT's database "the height of journalistic irresponsibility" – longhand for "I got squat." UTLA is on slightly firmer ground in warning of an apocalyptic uprising as "parents scramble to get their children into classes taught by teachers labeled 'effective' by a newspaper." Take away the contemptuous attitude toward parents/customers (and the presumption that the people need to be shielded from information about the product they're paying for), and you have an interesting question: How reliable is the paper's database? Caveat quaeror (?): I put in all of my kid's teachers, and none of them came up.

* Who's gonna wake up Jerry? If you saw me in the octagon with Alan Colmes this morning, you may be wondering whether Attorney General Jerry Brown's lackluster performance against former eBay exec. Meg Whitman is really (as I said) because Brown has been a low-energy candidate or (as Colmes said) because Whitman is a kazillionaire. Here's George Skelton agreeing that Brown needs to get off his keister, while elsewhere in the L.A. Times, Seema Mehta speculates that Brown is employing some kind of rope-a-dope strategy.

* What do teachers do when they're trying not trying to cover up their own performance records? They're giving $600,000 to PR firm Edelman and Lucas to "provide overall management of a grassroots effort/campaign." The campaign aims to get lawmakers pouring more money into a fund that has managed to lose more than a third of its value to the ravages of heartless capitalism.

* Blowback! In the L.A. Times' web-only reader response column, NORML deputy director Paul Armentano deconstructs a recent No-On-Proposition 19 op-ed by a cackle of drug czars (including sitting drug czar Gil Kerlikowske, who would be legally enjoined from commenting on pending state legislation if this were a free country).

* Comedy: Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer travels to 16.2-percent-unemployed Fresno to help the rubes understand how many jobs the stimuli have created.