GOOD

L.A.'s Mayor Asks for Public Input on Education. But Does He Care What We Say?

Villaraigosa took to Twitter to announce that he wants to hear from the masses about education. Whether he cares what they say is still unclear.


Education is a hot topic in Los Angeles—more than 5,000 teachers protested budget cuts in Downtown last Friday and the Los Angeles Times just released a second go-round of its controversial database ranking teachers according to how much their students' test scores improved—so it's no surprise that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa wants the public's input on the direction of education reform in the city.

Villaraigosa took to Twitter late Monday afternoon to announce that he wants to hear from the masses about education. The link in his tweet goes to a question submissions page where Villaraigosa—who has long been involved with education reform efforts in the city—outlines his plans to introduce new LA Unified Superintendent John Deasy to San Fernando Valley residents on Monday, meet with parents on Tuesday, and speak to policymakers on Thursday about "changes that need to be made at the state level to help our local schools to succeed and thrive."

Keep Reading Show less
Articles

Bankruptcy Shmankruptcy: L.A. Times Wins Two Pulitzers

What's the fate of the L.A. Times? For now, it's a couple of Pulitzers.



In our newly released print magazine, which examines the urban environment through the lens of Los Angeles, David Greene explores the life, near death, and fate of the Los Angeles Times. The article asks what it means to be a local paper in the 21st century, looking both at the Times' history and its future.

For the time being, the Times is doing very well, exhibits A and B being the two Pulitzers it just received.

Keep Reading Show less
Articles

Read GOOD Issue 023: The Swollen Beast That Is Los Angeles

In this issue, we explore the urban environment through the lens of Los Angeles. On newsstands and online right here.


For the 23rd time, we're proud to present to you our print magazine—online. In this issue, we explore the modern urban environment through the lens of Los Angeles.

It's an effort to better understand (and, ideally, solve) the problems of 21st-century cities. Where better to do that than in a place so thoroughly shaped by the 20th—from its industries to its infrastructure to its insistence on doing everything it does with the help of a car.

Keep Reading Show less
Articles

Did Compton Parents Really Want the Trigger Pulled?

Parents at McKinley Elementary signed a petition to have their struggling school taken over. Critics say they were tricked. Who's telling the truth?

Were parents tricked into signing a "parent trigger" petition that sets into motion the takeover of a Compton, California, elementary school by a charter school operator? That claim, and a slew of other accusations, are bringing the drama to 497-student McKinley Elementary—and making it ground zero in the national education reform debate.

Takeover opponents claim that almost 60 parents have rescinded their signatures from the petition given to Compton Unified School District officials last week. Karla Garcia, a parent of two McKinley students, told the Los Angeles Times that representatives from the nonprofit organization behind the parent trigger movement, Parent Revolution, misled her to get her signature. "They told me the petition was to beautify the school. They are misinforming the parents, so I revoked my signature."

Keep Reading Show less
Articles

Should a Teacher's Value-added Score Be Made Public?

New York City's teachers' union wants to keep teacher performance data from being released. What's to hide?

Should the names of teachers and the test scores of their students be made public? Not according to the United Federation of Teachers, which represents New York City's public school teachers. Earlier today, the union's lawyers presented oral arguments to the New York Supreme Court in Manhattan to keep the New York City Department of Education from giving media outlets the names of teachers and their student's test results

These "Teacher Data Reports" for the city's fourth through eighth grade math and English teachers include what the union calls, "fundamentally flawed" value-added data, "based on the students' standardized test scores, which themselves were found to be inflated and inaccurate."

Keep Reading Show less
Articles

Amidst the imbroglio kicked up by The Los Angeles Times series of articles on teacher effectiveness data comes the findings of a research paper authored by several prominent education experts and published by the non-partisan Economics Policy Institute. Its finding: It would be "unwise" to consider student improvement (or slides) in standardized tests as up to 50 percent of a teacher's evaluation, as some states are proposing to do.

Louisiana, Tennessee, and Washington, D.C., are weighting value-added data up to 50 percent. Other states, however, are not looking to depend that heavily on the controversial assessment. In response to the Times article, Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Ramon Cortines is shooting to use value-added assessments for 30 percent of a teacher's grade. A pilot program galvanized by The Gates Foundation in Tampa weights value-added data at 40 percent.

Keep Reading Show less
Articles