Rally for deceased poorly ranked LAUSD teacher

LOS ANGELES A couple hundred people gathered outside of the L.A. Times building in honor of Ruelas, a former elementary school teacher. They marched all the way from the Los Angeles Unified School District headquarters for a candlelight vigil Monday night.

Ruelas was a fifth-grade teacher at Miramonte Elementary School. In September he took his own life after the Times posted teacher ratings ranking Ruelas as less effective. The Times published that story based on a database that it said was based on seven years of state test scores in LAUSD schools.

Those who took to the streets Monday said the rankings are unfair, that Ruelas added value to his students and their parents' lives in many ways.

There has been great debate over how to assess a teacher's effectiveness in the classroom. Some of Monday's protesters say that the publishing of the database has created great concern for the teaching community. Ruelas's family says that he was unfairly targeted.

"It's like if somebody will go to anybody's house and say you are not a good parent," said Alejandro Ruelas, Rigoberto's brother. "They just shamed him without any real facts. They just came out and felt they had a story and that's it."

"I think that Rigo represents a lot of the stresses that many of us go through in the classrooms and it's unfortunate that people are only allowed to see one aspect of teaching," said teacher Denise Gomez.

Many of Monday's protesters were students, teachers and family members.

The L.A. Times released a statement: "The Times continues to extend our sympathy to Mr. Ruelas' family, students, friends and colleagues.

"The Times published the database, which is based on seven years of state test scores in the LAUSD schools, because it bears directly on the performance of public employees who provide an important service, and in the belief that parents and the public have a right to judge the data for themselves."

Ruelas's brother is asking that the L.A. Times remove Rigoberto's name from the database, but at this point they still have him listed as an ineffective teacher.

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