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Teachers' union story is misleading

October 09, 2012

In its front page story (“Teachers battle union leader,” Oct. 6,), the Glendale News-Press suggests that a large-scale battle among the approximately 1,200 Glendale Unified teachers is brewing over the Glendale Teachers Union’s president Tami Carlson’s refusal to sign off on the District’s Race to the Top grant application.

The News-Press cites a “growing number” of the “rank and file” and “several teachers” who have “indicated their support of accepting test scores as part of the job evaluation process” as its evidence of some kind of larger disapproval over Carlson’s position.

Let me offer a contrary view: In a recent representative council meeting of the GTA, no one in the room expressed support for the idea of using standardized test scores in teacher evaluations. These are teachers who are chosen by their respective school staff members to represent their interests. Some of these teacher representatives have even expressed disagreement with policies that the union’s board has adopted in the past.

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The News-Press doesn’t try very hard to hide its disdain for Carlson. This front-page story that masquerades as news does very little to illuminate the complexity over the controversies of President Obama’s Race to the Top program, the challenges of creating a meaningful teacher evaluation process, or the dynamics of management and labor relations.

To suggest that there is some large groundswell of support among Glendale Unified teachers for using student test scores in teacher evaluations without citing any specific numbers other than a “growing number” and “several” is poor journalism at best and sensationalism at the worst.

Union and district leaders may very well find some common ground on these issues, but stories such as this one do nothing but stir up unwarranted controversy.

Chris Davis
Glendale

Editor's note: The writer is a teacher and union representative at Clark Magnet High School.

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