A Database of Teacher Reviews: should our teachers be graded?

Rigoberto Ruelas Jr.

The Los Angeles Times was the center of attention today for posting teacher performance reviews on its website last month, which may have led to the death of a teacher.

Rigoberto Ruelas Jr., a fifth-grade teacher at Miramonte Elementary School, committed suicide after seeing his poor marks on the review. It is unclear whether the two variables are connected, but officials said Ruelas was upset ever since the Times published his “ineffective” rating.

Thus begs the question, was the Los Angeles Times correct to publish such a controversial database? Some people like U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan believe this information should be available to parents. They should be able to see the quality of the teachers shaping the minds of their children.

In opposition to this, the Los Angeles Teachers Union called this database “dangerous” and “irresponsible”.

It is unclear whether all 6,000 teacher was able to see their marks before publication.

Do you think the LA Times did more good than harm with their database? This may have been the straw that broke the camels back for one man, but is it causing enough other teachers to improve to justify the database?

-Nick Gustafson

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