Opinion Readers React
Readers React

Does it matter how California scores its schools?

To the editor: Does it really make a difference how California schools are evaluated? ("How California does, and should, grade its schools," Editorial, Aug. 6)

Longitudinal studies show that although all schools can improve their rankings, it doesn't necessarily mean their students will improve on SAT or Advanced Placement tests. Schools that ranked high under the Academic Performance Index will still rank high under any new model; similarly, schools struggling to achieve greater college readiness for their students will still struggle.

Furthermore, existing longitudinal school data already provide substantial information on the strengths and weaknesses of our schools — enough to save money on testing for years.

The shame is that taxpayers are being charged for bait-and-switch evaluation models without demonstrating how students will get access to better schools.

Michael Katzman, Bell Canyon

The writer is a former data analyst for the Los Angeles Unified School District.


To the editor: If California overhauls the API, affective outcomes should be included to give taxpayers a better picture of how well their dollars are being spent.

Teachers can teach their subject well while teaching students to hate the subject in the process. The result is a pyrrhic victory that no nation should be proud of.

That has happened in South Korea, where students consistently score near the top on all tests of international competition, and yet many suffer from depression, which has led to a high suicide rate.

Walt Gardner, Los Angeles

Gardner is the author of Education Week's Reality Check blog.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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