Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Friday, February 24, 2012

Rigoberto Ruelas

It seems fitting to remember the LA schoolteacher who tragically took his own life after being named a "bad teacher" by the LA Times when that newspaper conducted its own witch hunt of teachers using a value-added measurement system that had a high margin of error.

His name was Rigoberto Ruelas.

Who will be the first teacher in NYC to suffer some tragedy as a result of the public shaming that comes from having names and ratings published in the newspapers (ratings that have very high MOE's, btw)?

What will the circumstances be?

Will it be a suicide, as in Los Angeles?

Will some vigilante decide to take street justice to a "bad teacher" who gave their kid a failing grade?

You can be sure that this publishing of the TDR's with names attached will have some dire consequences even if no violence occurs.

You can't pin scarlet letters on teachers in a public shaming exhibition and not expect there to be fallout.

One major consequence of this will be that fewer college students are going to want to be teachers.

I mean, who would want to spend time and money on a college degree for a job where politicians and media elites criticize you daily as THE problem, where you have little job security (now that tenure has effectively been abolished via the new New York State evaluation system, there is no job security), where employees are rated by a system with a margin of error as high as 54%, and publicly humiliated by having their names and rankings in that error-riddled evaluation system published in the media?

The politicians from Bloomberg to Cuomo to Obama all talk about how they want to make sure there is an "effective teacher" in every classroom, and yet the "reforms" they have undertaken on the school system, the curriculum, teacher preparation programs and teacher evaluation systems will ensure that good teachers in the system will either be fired based on an error-riddled evaluation or leave after receiving a public shaming via the same error-riddled eval system.

In effect, they are ensuring that anybody who could be an "effective teacher" wouldn't want to place their own financial security on a job that is so unstable, where the evaluation system is so arbitrary and unfair, and where the media and the political and education establishments all are invested in scapegoating the workforce so they can skate on their own accountability for the problems in public education.

This is where we are at today - the publishing of the error-riddled TDR's crystallize this.


  1. Glad you posted this. I too remember Rigoberto. I have been saying this for some time that when one is unfairly shamed and threatened through no fault of their own, one may become desperate, angry, or come to hate. Many may have the ability to deal with it, but some may not. I too fear some of the consequences of this as well as a possible future unfairly thought out and agreed upon evaluation system. I am a realist, and know that it only takes one to "crack" leading to a tragic cirumstance.

  2. I see many teachers paranoid from this shameful attack on their character. I see teachers being ridiculed by the parents who don't fully understand the TDR, but make the assumption that they are doing the best for their child. I see many children upset that their beloved teacher, who gives up his/her lunch period to be with them, who provides the loving affection when their students are upset, will be removed or terminated, only to have these children traumatized by this action. I see anarchy in the schools because of the TDRs. I see many of my colleagues spin in a downward spiral of depression. This is the lowest of the lowest that the mayor and the pretentious chancellor have done to the teachers.

  3. Zulma - please don't forget to add the president and the Secretary of Education, who both support this, the governor and the unions who have agreed to the new eval system, the media elites who promote lies about teachers and schools - they are ALL to blame for what is to come.

    Very dark days to come.

  4. I had a great idea, as long as they are rating the best and worst teachers, why don't they do it for Principals, Doctors, lawyers, judges, and bus drivers? After all, wouldn't you rather have your child in a class run by the worst teacher, in in a school run by the worst principal,or being tended to by the worst doctor, represented by the worst lawyer, appear before the worst judge, or driven by the worst doctor? In fact consider being flown by the worst pilot, commanded by the worst general or treated by the worst psychiatrist. Perhaps the tests are being written by the worst writers.