With the exception of a refreshing few, we're all a bunch of wimps in this town. Hardly anyone wants to go public with their criticism of any local institution.
I was reminded of this Monday when I received a phone call from a woman who has children attending La Cañada public schools. She had read the L.A. Times' in-depth report Sunday on the Los Angeles Unified School District's methodology for assessing teachers. In case you didn't see the report, here's a very brief recap: The Times found that instead of reviewing individual students' standardized test results from year to year to help pinpoint classrooms where effective teaching skills might be lacking, the Los Angeles district relies on other measures and therefore might be short-changing the students' learning experience.
My caller suggested it was time La Cañada schools came under such scrutiny. My answer to her was that we were already working on a story detailing how La Cañada teachers are evaluated because we knew a lot of people would be asking the same question after reading The Times article. We aren't doing the same kind of study that compares seven years of individual test scores — and it turns out we wouldn't be able to do that since the La Cañada teachers' contract prohibits releasing that information — but we wanted to give our readers a glimpse at the local process for assessing the educational experience.