Debra J. Packer

A 2nd grade teacher at Newcastle Elementary in 2007

These graphs show a teacher's "value-added" rating based on his or her students' progress on the California Standards Tests in math and English. The Times’ analysis used all valid student scores available for this teacher from the 2002-03 through 2008-09 academic years. The value-added scores reflect a teacher's effectiveness at raising standardized test scores and, as such, capture only one aspect of a teacher's work.

Overall value-added effectiveness

Math effectiveness

English effectiveness

Compared with other Los Angeles Unified teachers on the value-added measure of test score improvement, Packer ranked:

  • Most effective overall.
  • Most effective in math. Students of teachers in this category, on average, gained about 11 percentile points on the California Standards Test compared with other students at their grade level.
  • Most effective in English. Students of teachers in this category, on average, gained about 7 percentile points on the California Standards Test compared with other students at their grade level.

Packer's LAUSD teaching history

2002-03 through 2008-09 academic years

Debra Packer's Response:

As I was rated 'most effective' in the recent LA Times value-added teacher ratings report, I feel that I can respond to the project without being accused of a sour grape attitude. I think the best way to approach the absurdity of the LA Times study is to offer an analogy of how 'statistics' can be misconstrued... and consequently cause irreversible damage due to the sensationalist manner in which they were presented. A few years after our school reopened, a very well educated parent raised the concern we were not doing enough to make sure our gifted students stayed at our school. She talked with other parents, and finally it was necessary to bring the issue to the table at our monthly school meeting. Our cluster supervisor also attended as did I due to the fact I was the coordinator of the gifted and talented program at that time. The parent started the conversation by waving a paper in the air and stating, "Our September report shows that fifteen 'gifted' children have already left the school!" With as serious a face as I could muster under the circumstances, I replied, "I am so sorry about that but those children graduated from fifth grade in June, and that is why they left." Although the statistics had been explained, to this day parents still question our programs based on those original inquiries. My point here is that even highly educated people are often led astray by 'statistics'. Statistics give numbers and trends, but do not include the human element. The Times has managed to demoralize outstanding teachers by branding them, and as a caveat in the FAQ section stating that their findings should only be partially counted in an overall teacher evaluation. How many people stopped to read that, and even if they did, their judgment has now been clouded with the, "Well if they are not good in English and Math, how could they be good at anything else?" Children are not statistics. Children are our living, breathing future. They need to be inspired to be great scientists and thinkers. Think about some of our great men and women in history who had learning disabilities, or who thought miles beyond the 'simplicity' of English and Math! Their teachers probably would not have passed the value-added test, but they inspired these people and encouraged them to move forward on their ideas. Think about it LA Times, before you go tampering with our future again.

The Times gave LAUSD elementary school teachers rated in this database the opportunity to preview their value-added evaluations and publicly respond. Some issues raised by teachers may be addressed in the FAQ. Teachers who have not commented may do so by contacting The Times.

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Los Angeles Teacher Ratings, the Los Angeles Times' database of value-added scores for Los Angeles Unified elementary schools and teachers.

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