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.
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...
(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.
(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.