LA Times Value-Added Reporters: Where Are They Now

In two of my older posts (here and here), I wrote about the Los Angeles Times and its controversial move to solicit Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) students’ test scores via an open-records request, calculate LAUSD teachers’ value-added scores themselves, and then publish thousands of LAUSD teachers’ value-added scores along with their “effectiveness” classifications on their Los Angeles Teacher Ratings website. They did this, repeatedly, since 2010, and they did this all despite the major research-based issues surrounding teachers’ value-added estimates (that hopefully followers of this blog know at least somewhat well).

This is also of frustration for me since the authors of the initial articles (Jason Strong and Jason Felch) contacted me back in 2011 regarding whether what they were doing was appropriate, valid, and fair. Despite about one hour’s worth of strong warnings against doing so, Felch and Song thanked me for my time and moved forward regardless. See also others’ concerns about them doing this here, here, here, and here, for example.

Well, Jason Strong now works as communications director for Eli Broad’s Great Public Schools Now, which has as its primary goal to grow charter schools and get 50% of LA students into charters (see here). Jason Felch was fired in 2014 for writing a story about unreported sexual assault violations at Occidental College, and having an “inappropriate relationship” with a source for this story (see here).

So Jason Song and Jason Felch humiliated thousands of LA teachers and possibly contributed to the suicide of one, fifth grade teacher Rigoberto Ruelas, who jumped off a bridge after they publicly labeled him mediocre.

What goes around, comes around…

4 thoughts on “LA Times Value-Added Reporters: Where Are They Now

  1. Felch was married and a father in his 40’s when Felch mixed his journalism “business” with his extra-marital “pleasure” while investigating and writing a “sexual-assaults-on-campus” story for the L.A. Times.

    Bad move.

    In exchange for getting laid by a certain female college student activist who was acting as a source — or, as they say, “thinking with his you-know-what” — Felch slanted the story by including bogus or misleading data about the extent of sexual assaults at Occidental College, and making false accusations that the college authorities under-reported these alleged crimes to authorities and the federal government.

    Felch’s bosses at the L.A. Times discovered both of these things — Felch’s bogus data and slant, as well as that Felch wrote the story thusly so / because it got him access to some young, ripe college-aged tail — and then promptly canned him, issuing a profuse apology to Occidental’s leadership and staff in the process.

    That effectively ended Felch’s once-promising journalism career.

  2. Just like the lack of true indication of a students abilities and intelligence with SAT’s and other forms of standardized testing, this method of evaluating teachers is faulty representation of a teachers abilities. I have read many articles as well as had friends tell me they had teachers manipulate test results by forcing students to prepare for testing, facilitating cheating and bribing students to perform well or for low performance students to not show up to class on the day of testing. Causing corrupted teachers to be praised and rewarded while ethical and truthful teachers are unfairly penalized. I am curious to what this method can be replaced by. Meanwhile this practice should be terminated as soon as possible if it has not been already.

  3. The blog I was assigned was LA Times Value-Added Reporters. The Los Angeles Unified School District would grade teachers based on their student’s test scores, and then they would label them based off of those scores. The author of the blog is very frustrated by this as research shows this is an insufficient means of grading teachers. He also contributes the suicide of one teacher due to the system labeling them as mediocre. Although the blog was very short, it offered a lot of references as to where he bases his evidence. I believe the author has a lot of valid view points, and his work should be considered. Considering the proven research, I believe teachers should be evaluated 4-6 times in the classroom. However, I believe these evaluations should be random. In my school teachers would know when they were getting evaluated, and they would proceed to run that class entirely different. This negates the purpose of the evaluation, and I believe it can be fixed by simply making it random.

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