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She was a popular teacher, known for working past midnight on school projects and being a compassionate ally to her students. He was one of the special ones: a sixth-grader with whom she had recognized a kindred spirit when he entered her class, talented and intense.
April 10, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
In February, Los Angeles Unified School District officials suspended a teacher after two of his students turned in science projects that administrators thought looked like guns. Even granting that school officials have a right to be hypersensitive these days about anything resembling a weapon, their decision to remove him from the classroom was a harmful overreaction. It's also hard to understand why the investigation into this seemingly simple matter has taken more than a month.
Shannon Wright, who shielded a sixth-grade pupil from gunfire and was fatally wounded as a result, was remembered Saturday as a hero as the final victims of Tuesday's shooting spree at Westside Middle School were laid to rest. The 32-year-old teacher, who leaves behind a husband and a 2-year-old son, was memorialized at a jammed church service just five miles from the scene of the bloody schoolyard ambush that claimed the lives of Wright and four young girls and injured 10 others.
April 9, 2014
Re "Kill tenure, cure schools?," Opinion, April 3 A ruling in favor of the plaintiffs in Vergara vs. California will be hailed as a victory for the rights of students over the rights of teachers. But this interpretation is not necessarily true. As documented in the media, exemplary performance has provided teachers no protection from abusive principals in New York City, home of the nation's largest school district. If it were not for the existence of seniority and tenure, outstanding teachers there would be forced out, depriving students of their talent.
March 1, 2014 | By Karin Klein
A poll of public school teachers finds that on average, high school students are assigned 3.5 hours of homework per weeknight, or more than 17 hours a week. Or that's the teachers' perspective, anyway. If that's how it actually plays out, it strikes me as too much by far. I'm no homework-denier. When you look at the research , it's clear that homework, at least at the high school level, contributes to higher achievement. But I'm also in the camp that says kids, including teenagers, need well-balanced lives that include extracurricular activities, outside pursuits, physical activity, fun with friends and family, and just hanging around accomplishing nothing.
August 31, 2005 | Deborah Netburn, Special to The Times
We'll call this one Cupid because, with his golden curls and wide-eyed cherubic face, it seems like a decent handle. He's 26, fresh out of the military and, despite his Abercrombie good looks, he tends to panic when he talks to girls. "I'm totally an introvert," he says early on a Friday evening. But now it's into the wee hours of Saturday morning and he's at the Saddle Ranch on the Sunset Strip.
January 4, 2014 | By Howard Blume
After an extended period of layoffs and hiring freezes, the Los Angeles Unified School District has resumed bringing on new teachers, while also being more selective about their quality than in the past. The nation's second-largest school system forecasts hiring 1,333 instructors for next year; it hired 718 for the current year. The total teaching force numbers about 26,000. The turnaround represents the first significant positive change in the employment climate since 2007; each year since, the district had faced significant budget cuts - from an economic recession, a drop in federal funding and declining enrollment.
September 1, 2010
On Sunday, The Times made public a database of "value-added" ratings for about 6,000 Los Angeles Unified School District teachers. Rankings from "least effective" to "most effective" were assigned to teachers based on an analysis of whether they consistently raised or lowered their students' scores on standardized tests. Teachers were allowed to review their scores in advance and post comments if they wished. We have excerpted some teachers' responses below. Their full comments and those of other teachers can be found on our searchable database at projects.
October 24, 2013 | By Michael Hiltzik
It would take a finely tuned instrument to measure the speed with which a strike by public employees is followed by politicians calling for a ban on this fundamental right of organized labor. Sure enough, the ink wasn't dry on the settlement ending the recent strike by workers for the Bay Area Rapid Transit system when a candidate for the State Assembly spoke up . He's Steve Glazer, a Democrat running for a seat in the East Bay. "Transit is an essential public service, just like police and fire," he says.  He argues that since California bans strikes by police and firefighters, transit strikes should be banned too. That's baloney.
August 15, 2010
Later this month, The Times will post on its website a database with ratings for more than 6,000 elementary school teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District, showing their effectiveness in the classroom as estimated by a "value-added" analysis of student test scores. If you taught in Grades 3, 4 or 5 in L.A. Unified at some point during school years 2002-03 through 2008-09, and had at least 60 students total during that period, you may be in the database. We'd like to give you an opportunity to comment on your rating.
April 9, 2014 | By Howard Blume
A popular Los Angeles high school science teacher has been suspended after students turned in projects that appeared dangerous to administrators, spurring a campaign calling for his return to the classroom. Students and parents have rallied around Greg Schiller after his suspension in February from the downtown Cortines School of Visual & Performing Arts. Supporters have organized a rally on his behalf at the campus for Thursday, gathered hundreds of signatures on a petition calling for his reinstatement and set up a social media page.
April 7, 2014 | By Matt Stevens
The cellphone video from inside a classroom at Santa Monica High School went viral late last week. It showed Mark Black, a longtime teacher and wrestling coach, swatting at a student with his arms, grabbing the teenager by the thigh and then crashing into desks and the classroom wall as he tried to execute a takedown. Moments later, Black had the young man pinned to the ground. District Superintendent Sandra Lyon called the incident "utterly alarming" and acted swiftly, placing the teacher on leave pending the outcome of an investigation.
April 5, 2014 | By Kevin Baxter
Juergen Klinsmann hasn't made many missteps in his 2 1/2 years of coach of the U.S. national team. Still it was hard not to question last week's decision to jettison Martin Vasquez, his longtime right-hand man, and replace him with Tab Ramos and former German national team coach Berti Vogts. Sacking your top assistant two months before the World Cup is a little like a presidential candidate dumping his running mate after the convention. So was it an act of panic or prescience? It's too early to tell.
March 27, 2014 | By Howard Blume
A groundbreaking, two-month trial challenging teacher job protections in California concluded Thursday with both sides asserting that the interests of students are at stake. The case, Vergara vs. California, seeks to overturn a set of laws that affect how teachers are fired, laid off and granted tenure. The Silicon Valley-based group Students Matter brought the lawsuit on behalf of nine plaintiffs, contending that the regulations hinder the removal of ineffective teachers. The result is a workforce with thousands of "grossly ineffective" teachers, which disproportionately hurts low-income and minority students, attorneys said.
March 20, 2014 | By Howard Blume
The contest to head the nation's second-largest teachers union will go to a second round, pitting challenger Alex Caputo-Pearl against incumbent Warren Fletcher, who finished a distant second in the initial race, according to results released Thursday. Caputo-Pearl, 45, received 48% of the votes and Fletcher 21%. In the vote-by-mail election, 7,158 members of United Teachers Los Angeles returned ballots, about 23% of those eligible to vote. Fewer than one in four voters supported the one-term incumbent.
March 19, 2014 | By Chris Megerian
SACRAMENTO - The longer California's leaders delay shoring up the cash-strapped teacher pension fund, the more money it will cost taxpayers in the long run, according to an analysis presented to lawmakers on Wednesday. If lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown eliminate the fund's $71-billion shortfall over the next 20 years, the extra contributions needed from the state, schools and teachers would total a little more than $180 billion in that time period. But if they put forward a 60-year plan, the total cost would be $622.8 billion.
February 16, 2000
You and the teacher "study" (Feb. 9) add insult to educational injury by insinuating that "smarter teachers" leave teaching. Perhaps smarter teachers believe they are performing a noble and needed job, regardless of the obstacles. Where would we all be if "Jesus left teaching to sell Coca-Cola"? (Add the corporate entity of your choice.) ILA HIRSCH Los Angeles
March 16, 2014
Re "In defense of Common Core," Editorial, March 13 The Obama administration's attempt to meddle in public education has been a failure. The switch to Common Core cannot be an administration victory over the conservative contingent in Congress because, as it has been articulated many times over, the federal government has no business in education. (Read that old document called the Constitution, Amendment 10.) You cite the numerous groups that are leading opposition to Common Core, and in fact you also voice minor opposition to many facets of this ill-conceived grand illusion of a "fix" to education once and for all. There is no "cure-all" because education is delivered by people, to people and generally administered by other people with little appreciation that the teachers and students are individuals who teach and learn differently.
March 16, 2014 | By Teresa Watanabe
For 14 years, Los Angeles math teacher Darryl Newhouse has run a robotics program aimed at showing inner-city students that careers in science and engineering are just as possible as ones in sports and entertainment. But when funds run short, he digs into his own pocket - often shelling out as much as $5,000 a year. That's not easy to do on a public school teacher's salary - but now Newhouse will get some help. The Los Angeles Fund for Public Education is set to announce Monday a groundbreaking initiative that will give L.A. Unified teachers access to hundreds of millions of dollars in funding opportunities through a new website featuring custom grants, training tools and the services of a grant writer.
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