Apr
01
2011

In Madison, a Numbers Game

The Wisconsin story, we were often told, comes down to numbers: a giant multi-billion dollar budget deficit and a Republican governor trying to fix it. But does it add up? Careful readers may have been confused by much of the reporting on the scale of the problem in Wisconsin. The current deficit was $30 million, though a “far greater shortfall of $1.5 billion is expected next year,” according to the Washington Post (2/19/11). The two-year projected deficit was even larger: $3.6 billion. But as Laura Dresser of the Center on Wisconsin Strategy told CounterSpin (2/25/11-3/3/11), those figures, which came from […]

Apr
01
2011

Not Much Value in 'Value-Added' Evaluations

NYT seeks teacher data, ignores own reporting

On September 21, Los Angeles teacher Rigoberto Ruelas killed himself, jumping 100 feet from a bridge into the Angeles National Forest below. His suicide came about a month after the Los Angeles Times posted ratings of over 6,000 L.A. teachers on its website (8/14/10). Ruelas was poorly ranked, pegged as “less effective than average overall.” But he was much beloved, and his sense of self was deeply tied up with the work he did in South L.A.’s poor and largely Latino Miramonte Elementary School. The L.A. Times rating was certainly devastating. It may have also been wrong. A legion of […]

Apr
01
2011

Letters to the Editor

A Student’s Take on Education Issue After reading September’s issue of Extra!, I had to say that this was my favorite issue and one that I felt a personal connection to, being that I’m a high school student. The idea that tests and charter schools are beneficial to students like me is ridiculous. (Is anything whose goal is profit beneficial to a large number of people?) FAIR’s analysis of this subject was extremely helpful for me in understanding the structure that our educational system has. One idea that particularly struck me was Jonathan Kozol about tests and how they limit […]