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 […]

Apr 01 2011

Anonymous Soldiers as Medical Experts?

Only when the NYT covers Israel killing a Palestinian

Jawaher Abu Rahmah--Photo Credit: Electronic Intifada/Oren Ziv/ActiveStills

U.S. media coverage of the death of Jawaher Abu Rahmah reflected how the corporate press routinely covers high-profile civilian deaths caused by Israel. The Israeli government, it seems, can count on U.S. media to print its anonymous claims—no matter how baseless. Two days after Abu Rahmah, a Palestinian woman from the West Bank village of Bil’in, died from tear-gas inhalation during a December 31 demonstration against the separation wall, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) went into spin mode. Anonymous “senior officers” in the Israeli army pushed a number of theories about her death—Abu Rahmah wasn’t at the demonstration, she had […]