Who is Teaching PWC Students?

The LA Times recently analyzed test score data for almost every teacher in the LA Unified School District and published those results in their paper (see here).  The paper justified its analysis thus:

“In Los Angeles and across the country, education officials have long known of the often huge disparities among teachers. They’ve seen the indelible effects, for good and ill, on children. But rather than analyze and address these disparities, they have opted mostly to ignore them.

Most districts act as though one teacher is about as good as another. As a result, the most effective teachers often go unrecognized, the keys to their success rarely studied. Ineffective teachers often face no consequences and get no extra help.

Which teacher a child gets is usually an accident of fate, in which the progress of some students is hindered while others just steps away thrive.

Though the government spends billions of dollars every year on education, relatively little of the money has gone to figuring out which teachers are effective and why.

Seeking to shed light on the problem, The Times obtained seven years of math and English test scores from the Los Angeles Unified School District and used the information to estimate the effectiveness of L.A. teachers — something the district could do but has not.”

Because the paper published the names, schools, and scores they calculated for almost every teacher in the LAUSD, the LA Teachers union has called for a boycott of the paper.

I wonder how PWCS and PWEA would respond if we demanded the same from them?  After all, we know that PWCS has ignored SOL test data and isn’t examining it to identify gaps in the instructional program, at least, at the elementary level. 

How do we know that?  Last year we asked for five years of SOL test data from a pre-printed report given to PWCS by Pearson Testing Services.  We first made the request informally and then under FOIA.  We provided the exact name of the report Pearson prepares and gives to the district – a report which one of our members had been given by her school Principal.

We were told that if we wanted the report, or just the data, it would cost over $200 for the district to determine if it existed.   We appealed to our school board members and Chairman Milt Johns.  While they agreed that the report should be released, the district refused to do so without the unanimous consent of the school board.  The net effect –  we never got the reports or the data.

So we know without a doubt that PWCS isn’t examining test data to identify gaps.  If they were then the district would have known the data existed because they would have already used it, and would have simply provided it to us as FOIA requires, not assessed a $200 search fee.   The only way the search fee can be justified is either (a) the district doesn’t use that data to identify gaps and honestly had to search to determine if the report existed, or, (b) the district does use the data and was lying to us when they assessed the $200 search fee to keep us from accessing the data.  Neither explanation paints the district in a positive light.

So I can’t help but wonder how PWCS would react if we were to do a similar analysis on test score data in our county.  As a parent I’d be very interested in the results.


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