I’ve been on vacation, so this news is a bit dated, but perhaps you recall reading that CA is bucking the Obama admin’s policy on teacher evaluation? . According to the article, this is surprising, since CA always gets Obama’s back…and this fight is defined as a turf war between unions who don’t want accountability and the Pres, who does. On the one hand, we are told that Arne Duncan “expressed bewilderment that the state could find the plan objectionable,” and that “the administration is trying to provide relief for districts who want to move to the future.” From California’s perspective, we are told that Obama’s plan represents “intrusion on local control, unnecessary layer of bureaucracy, costly, unwarranted federal mandate,” and is “led by ‘hedge fund managers and bankers’ who don’t understand the ways of the classroom.”
In other words, we are told next to nothing. We expect politicians to talk like this, but newspapers are supposed to do some explaining and informing. The article fails to even mention the crux of the disagreement. The thing CA and the CTA don’t want is VAM-based accountability for individual teachers. So much has been written about the debate over vam, so I won’t go into detail (VAM_Overview), but the amazing thing is that the LA Times, the same newspaper that deemed itself qualified to publish its own VAM study of LA’s teachers, is now reporting on the biggest political push-back on VAM to date, and doesn’t even mention that VAM is an issue.
This isn’t a case of a newspaper article glossing over the technical details for its popular audience. This is a case of completely leaving out the most relevant piece of information in the entire story.
The Koch brothers haven’t bought the Times yet, but it doesn’t seem to matter. Journalism may be dead anyway.