Gabriel Arana

Gabriel Arana is a senior editor at The American Prospect. His articles on gay rights, immigration, and media have appeared in publications including The New Republic, The Nation, Salon, The Advocate, and The Daily Beast.

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Recent Articles

The Era of Data-Driven Education.

Gabriel Arana says No Child Left Behind has given us a lot of hard numbers -- but we still don’t know what they’re telling us about educational outcomes : But while rooting out bad teachers and excoriating unions for protecting them has become the cause célèbre of education reformers, this isn’t simply a case of teachers’ unions trying to protect their own. Since the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) in 2001, schools have been required to test students’ progress on a yearly basis. There’s been an ongoing debate not only about what exactly these tests measure but whether -- and how -- the resulting data should be used to evaluate teachers. For the first time, education-policy experts have a big heap of standardized statistics gathered over several years -- instead of a hodgepodge of sporadically taken samples -- and no one knows quite what to do with them. KEEP READING …

The Era of Data-Driven Education

No Child Left Behind has given us a lot of hard numbers -- but we still don't know what they're telling us about educational outcomes.

The Los Angeles Times building. Last week the paper released its rankings of 6,000 area teachers based on student test scores. (Flickr/Mr. Littlehead)
Ignoring pleas from teachers' unions, the Los Angeles Times went public last week with an online database of 6,000 local third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade teachers, ranking -- and naming -- each by their efficacy in raising student test scores. Thanks to the paper's feat of selfless journalism, now countless parents, once naively confident that their child was getting a good education, can plug in a teacher's name and see if their child's instructor is in fact incompetent. The teachers' unions were not pleased. A.J. Duffy, president of the United Teachers of Los Angeles, said he was "outraged" the paper would "put this out and put people in harm's way." But many -- including education officials in the Obama administration -- welcomed the exposé as a refreshing bit of transparency for a system that eats up over half a trillion dollars of taxpayer money a year -- yet provides little accountability. "What's there to hide?" asked U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. But while rooting out...

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The Los Angeles Times building (Flickr/Mr. Littlehead)

The Little Picture: Danger at Discovery Headquarters.

(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) Police block the street in front of the headquarters of the Discovery Channel network right outside of Washington, D.C. Police say a gunman has taken at least one person hostage in the building.

The Little Picture: Gay Marriage, a Conservative Cause.

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) Former McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt and the former presidential candidate. Today, Schmidt told Sam Stein of the Huffington Post that gay marriage was on its way to becoming a conservative cause.

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