A Los Angeles Unified School District official says Rigoberto Ruelas Jr., a teacher who committed suicide last week, had received a very good performance evaluation.
So what does this mean?
Some people in the educational reform movement are going to see this as evidence that the teacher-evaluation system is broken. They might say that teachers are always on their very best behavior when the principal is in the room watching. They might say that this proves that teachers know how to be effective, but are too lazy to do that quality of instruction each and every day like our children deserve. For them, this is will be proof positive that teacher evaluations have to be tied to objective measures of student performance, in other words, test scores.
Other people in the educational reform movement will look at this and see evidence that the tests are flawed. They will say that learning and teachers are far too complicated activities to be measured by a one-shot-bubble-in test. They'll say that some children get frighted by high-stakes test and do more poorly that they could have because of test anxiety. They might also point out that only a few apathetic and angry children bubbling at random will greatly effect a classes, and thus a teachers, score. For them, this will be proof positive that high-stakes test are giving us a misguided view of classrooms and student learning.
While I hesitate to play judge and tell you who is right... I do suspect that neither side will be much interested in listening to the other.