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Union Fires Back After Report Grades L.A. Teachers

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Teachers who are used to giving out the grades are now being graded, and that has union officials outraged.

Teachers who are used to giving out the grades are now being graded, and that has union officials outraged.

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The Los Angeles Times posted report cards for about 6,000 elementary school teachers Sunday, and the teachers union fired back that releasing “deeply flawed” test scores on the internet is “reckless and destructive.”

The newspaper posted cumulative test results for students taking classes from math and English teachers in grades 3-5 in the Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation’s second-largest district.

In an accompanying article in The Times, the paper said parents can now check some elementary teachers by name to see how effective they are in raising student performance on standardized tests.

The Times acknowledged that looking at the test scores alone “is not a complete measure of a teacher by any means, but offer one one way to see whether an instructor is helping or hindering children in grasping what the state says they should know.”

The test scores compare how far classes of students either improve or fall behind test score norms for math and English. The paper acknowledged that the use of “value added analysis” is controversial among education experts, but reported that “the method increasingly has been adopted across the nation to measure the progress students make under different instructors.”

A statement released Sunday by the United Teachers of Los Angeles called the report unfair.

“It is the height of journalistic irresponsibility to make public these deeply flawed judgments about a teachers effectiveness,” it said.

“The database will cause chaos at school sites, as parents scramble to get their children into classes taught by teachers labeled as `effective’ by a newspaper — not by education professionals,” UTLA said, emphasizing the word “newspaper” in italics.

The union said the result is a public, incomplete and inaccurate picture of a teacher’s effectiveness.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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