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L.A. teachers union protests Times articles

Hundreds of Los Angeles Unified School District teachers rallied in front of The Times on Tuesday evening, protesting what they said was unfair reporting in recent articles that used a statistical analysis to compare the performances of thousands of elementary school teachers.

The teachers, many of them wearing red union T-shirts, waved placards that said: “Shame on the L.A. Times,” and “We Demand Fair Reporting.”

As organizers shouted in bullhorns and others stood on a podium that had been set up on the sidewalk, the procession marched in a circle in front of the newspaper building on 1st Street.

Among those marching was elementary school teacher Carrie Folker, who was with her her two daughters, ages 5 and 11.

Folker said her name was included in an online database published by The Times that identified roughly 6,000 third-through-fifth grade teachers. The database ranked them by their effectiveness in improving students' scores on standardized math and English tests during a seven-year period.

“There's a whole lot more that goes into educating children beyond a test score,” said Folker, who teaches at Mayberry Elementary School. “My students and my children are more than one test in one day.”

The reports published in The Times used a value-added analysis to compare the teachers.

-- Robert J. Lopez

Video: Teachers rally in front of The Times in downtown Los Angeles . Credit: Robert J. Lopez / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (43)

Incompetent government employees protest the exposure of their incompetence.

That's news?

Don't worry. You're all protected by the anti-student/anti-taxpayer union, so you won't lose your jobs no matter how awful you are at your job.

FACTS who cares about the facts - LA Times you have no business posting facts - shame on you for outing those lousy teachers.

Unions are pretty simplistic in disputes, their only method of persuasion is coercion. It doesn't really occur to them, nor do they care, if they are making themselves look very bad in front of the public with their conduct.

the latimes isn t even news anymore, just sensationalism. continue showing just the negative of every profession without bothering to investigate any other aspect. don t bother to delve below the surface and investigate why things are they way they are. go ahead, rouse anger towards those who receive substandard pay for community services. what good does this paper do besides try to divide the city of los angeles? whatever sells and brings in the advertising dollars i suppose.

"We Demand Fair Reporting."

Well, at least they agree with the rest of us on something. However, I assume they're implying the Times' series was "unfair", and therefore have an extremely distorted vision of what "Fair Reporting" on this topic should entail. When we consider the source -- union loyalists extreme enough to protest -- we can safely assume "Fair Reporting" is whatever the union tells them they ought to think.

Great job LA Times! Keep it up.

GEAH, you obviously aren't a teacher. No one can measure the effectiveness of any one educator by one impersonal test score. Many, many factors including English language proficiency, the presence of special needs, fatigue, and race/class test bias, among several others, can greatly impact these scores. Although transparency should always be present when evaluating teacher effectiveness, the Times did not promote this transparency responsibly.

Actions speak louder than words, and the teachers actions are speaking loudly...They do not care about students. If they did, school would have started on time, more than 4 teachers would have been fired for failing preformances from LAUSD in the past decade, and it wouldn't have cost millions of dollars to do it. Unions are destroying this State and Nation, they have too much political power and their greed now matches the greed of those whom they were first created to protect against.

It's old news. The story gets more attention than the content warrants. Will the Times post effectiveness ratings for reporters; or better yet let us readers rate them online.

How DARE the LA Times tell the truth!!!

Don't you know it's not nice to anger a union? Unions still run California and still tell politicians what to do.

You can't tell the truth so openly like that.

The Unions count on you to help keep people dumb. The teachers have played along for years taking pay raises, health care for life, work for life. All for keeping students dumb by only "teaching to the test" and not educating the child. You know better and did not care. That makes you worse.

It's about time bad teachers, outdated teachers & irreverent teachers are kicked out. Your union has protected you for too long and our children have paid the price!

Why are the teachers so mad? They cannot be fired. It is the only profession where you can be truly bad at your job and keep it. In fact, if you ask most teachers, they will tell you who the bad ones are. They all know but nobody does anything about it. You want change. Get rid of the tenure system and the union while you are at it. Speak out about the bad teachers. Support the school districts when they want to fire the ones who need to be fired. Then you will have change. Until you do that, you are not about the students but merely about towing the party line and a hypocrite.

One other thing. You complain about pay and working hard and losing benefits. Tell me any other job that has 5 months off, pays little, if any, towards their benefits and gets a nice big fat pension.

Ignore the Big Labor shills, LATimes - the general public supports what you did. If UTLA has nothing to hide, they shouldn't be so eager to suppress information from parents and the public.

UTLA complains that the test used is arbitrary (it isn't), but that's not what this protest is about. This protest is about UTLA's continued unwillingness to allow teacher accountability to exist in any form. This isn't about kids, it's about money - every teacher who would be fired for poor performance would be a lost union dues check for UTLA, and a little less money to spend on politicians to ensure continued political protection for the teachers unions. THAT'S what this is about - money and power. The test could be the most subject-comprehensive and student-personalized exam ever devised, but as long as it was used to rank teacher performance, UTLA would still oppose it, because they don't want a single member to lose a dime no matter how bad their performance is.

They just want to protect the tenure system. (P.S. - the very concept of tenure for high school teachers is completely insane, but that's another conversation altogether.)

I find it hilarious that the UTLA protesters keep saying absurd slogans like "What we teach kids cannot be measured on a test." .........Seriously? You don't think that learning can be measured by tests? Well, newsflash guys - guess who DOES think that learning can be measured by tests? That's right - virtually every single college and university in the world, that's who. Ever heard of the SAT's? ACT's? MCAT? LSAT? GRE? GMAT? If you think your students shouldn't have to worry about tests, then you are doing a pretty terrible job preparing them for college.

I understand how the teachers feel about posting the results; it's almost like invasion of privacy. But the taxpayers have a right to know how their tax money is used and if the money is benefiting the intended purpose; which in this case – NOT!!! TEACHERS - you CAN do better. I also understand how parents feel about this issue as well. In my experience as a parent, it's a fact - the teachers could have done better in teaching. You would be surprise what kids are telling their parents about teachers’ lackadaisical performance in the classroom. The majority of the teachers do NOT care about the students. Most of them are in it for the buck…the almighty dollar. I know it’s not much; teachers are eligible to pull in extra bucks/salary from additional assignments which is paid above their annual pay. As for me as a parent, I had to work hard with my kids to get them college ready; kids are doing well in college. All I have to say is...teachers could do better in the classroom. It's about time. TIME for CHANGE!!!

the "teachers" aren't teaching. i know one at an elementary school who has a speach IMPEDIMENT. nobody can understand him, yet he is an lausd teacher. diversity i guess.

Here's the deal. A good teacher can't win. I spend 50 to 70 hours a week doing my job as well as I can, paying for my own supplies and furniture, paying for my own staff development and for courses required to continue my job. I love my job. I have fifty percent turnover of students a year, because I work in a transient area. Half of the children I test each spring have been in my class for three months or less. They often do not perform well. It is very demoralizing to me to feel that people call all teachers bad without thinking of the impact that has on teachers like me, who work hard, spend many, many extra hours finding creative and interesting ways to teach, who test, yes, test regularly and pour over those results to figure out the best way to reach these children. Does this matter to you? Do you care enough to find out about me? Or are you content to lump everyone together as "bad"? Please respond.

If you are a public funded employee...
you will be within the spot light of exposure
and disclosure on your time on the public's
clock...we need education reaching all students
and when its not...we need to look how that lesson
is getting through or not...
its the PUBLIC'S INTEREST...not the teachers self interest.

I have to agree with the teachers. The LA Times marketed this instrument as a virtual measure of teacher ability and competence, despite the fact that the research methodology was not peer tested and had significant methodological limitations and flaws. The lesson for those seeking a teaching career is clear: don't venture into this profession and assume the sole responsibility of student scores.

As a parent of 3 elementary students, I have come to see the challenges that teachers face, particularly from parents less involved and supportive than my wife and me. Parents fail to attend back-to-school night; they fail to check children's homework; they fail to attend parent-teacher conferences; they fail to correct their children's disruptive and negative classroom behaviors. The result is that their children do poorly and their teachers are held responsible.

The LAT is NOT a research institute. They're a newspaper who now thinks more about "shock" news reporting than in-depth coverage. Perhaps it's time to rate newspapers by their readership. I suppose by those standards, the LAT scores are rapidly dropping.

Hundreds of teachers protest out of a union with about 40,000 members. Way to motivate the ranks, Duffy. I think it's time to just fade away....

When will the unions figure it out; just because you show up and "protest" doesn't mean that you can change facts. The public knows that anytime anyone says something negative about you (even if it's truthful), you'll try to intimidate them to retract.

"All powerful union"??? Has marijuana already been made legal in LA?

So this "all powerful union" has managed to get their members less per hour/per child than my teenage daughter makes babysitting??? Give me a break.

They're protesting because yet again, we're kicking around the teachers instead of actually doing something about education. We're kicking around the folks who go to work everyday at one of the lowest paying jobs out there - one most of us wouldn't dare to do (try being a sub one day and you'll see) and serve the public. We don't treat soldiers, firefighters or police officers this way, but teachers seem to be fair game??? Pathetic bullies - the Times and the voters.

What we REALLY need is a parent "value added" index. You lose points for doping up your kid with ritalin or letting them watch TV and play video games all evening. You gain points for reading to them or being able to name 10 of their friends.

When the LA Times gets an index of that up - or one of any other public employee's record - then you can say the teachers are whining. But until then, what you've done is take a small sliver of the situation and placed all the blame there - not on administrators, not on government officials and their rules, not on community members who don't want to pay for education and not on PARENTS who pop pills in their kids and send them off to daycare instead of being a parent. Instead, you kick the teachers - the ones who are trying to make that difference every day for little pay, less respect and zero support from their bosses, the parents (how DARE you discipline MY kid!) or this paper.

Shame on all of you bullies. Look in the mirror, folks.

To: tired but dedicated teacher
Who is lumping all teachers together as bad?
This is a tool to assist in seperating the bad from the good. Will there be one teacher that will lose their job over publishing this database? I think not. But using it along with other determining factors will only help in that seperation.
"It is very demoralizing to me to feel that people call all teachers bad without thinking of the impact that has on teachers like me.." Maybe instead of "feeling" that people are calling all teachers bad, you should actually listen to what they are saying. Self esteem is just that, "SELF" esteem. If you know your doing a good job, generalizations could not affect you.

I'm done with this. The people who post on here are never really going to care. They're never going to get close to the schools, the children, the classroom. They're just going to keep reading their one newspaper, keep reading the same murky, incomplete study with it's inaccurate teacher "effectiveness" ratings and feel so empowered and intelligent to write their political commentary about unions and about educators. This newspaper is not about the kids, their next article will be some other scandalous, biased, partial-truth article by the same dude (he's probably working on it right now). I heard them on "Which way L.A.?" evading the same questions experts keep raising. The only people I have to answer to are my students and their parents and if they see the evidence of progress, then that's all I'm going to spend my energy on, not here. The L.A. Times and all other people who don't work with kids, I'm just going to pray that your ignorance doesn't actually end up affecting my students in a negative way. Adios.

It is understandable to be unhappy having your job performance data published publicly.

However all of this data is avaiable to the public even without the LA Times! What are they complaining about again?

Now parents of students need to protest the teachers in front of this protest.

When the Times reveals factual information to the public, the Times faces demonstrations and intimidation. That makes me wonder if the Times may be sitting on other information which it is withholding because of implied threats or organized intimidation. Self-censorship is censorship. This union demonstration is censorship. What other censorship may be going on that we don't know about?

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