AirTalk for August 23, 2010

Mercer 9825

Value-added analysis and LAUSD teacher performance

Last week, the LA Times published a report examining the effectiveness of over 6,000 LAUSD elementary school teachers, but the findings caused many members of United Teachers Los Angeles to call for a revamp of the evaluation system. Some vehemently oppose the inclusion of students' standardized test scores in teacher evaluations. With the accuracy of value-added analysis in question, what are other ways to measure teacher performance in order to ensure all teachers make the grade? If instructors “teach to the test,” should children’s scores be used to evaluate teacher effectiveness? And, do parents, as well as the general public, have a right to know how LAUSD teachers rate?
Mercer 9829

The health insurance debate part II

Federal healthcare reform is now the law of the land; the healthcare mandate will go into effect in 2014. It’ll require Californians to buy health insurance. Okay. But if we’re required to buy insurance, what’s to stop insurance companies from charging unfair rates? Assembly Bill 2578 from State Assemblyman Dave Jones would require insurance companies to justify any rate increase to the insurance commissioner. Jones says without it, insurance companies could raise their rates to whatever they want. But insurance companies say the bill goes far beyond federal requirements for rate review and will not make health care more affordable because it doesn’t address the cost of medical care.
Mercer 9827

GOP State Convention Roundup

As the GOP girds its loins for the November elections, it will need to pull out all stops to woo voters – fewer than 31 percent of California voters are registered Republicans, compared to 45 percent registered Democrats. Polls show a tight race in the top contests: Republican Meg Whitman vs. Democrat Jerry Brown for Governor, and the GOP’s Carly Fiorina vs. the Dem’s Barbara Boxer for the Senate seat. The California Republican State Convention this past weekend showcased all their top-ticket hopefuls – a diverse lineup that includes two women, an African-American and a Latino candidate. Is this a bid to widen the Republican base, and will it help them gain ground with disgruntled Dems and decline-to-state voters?
Mercer 9826

Secret credit cards & covert purchases between spouses

It’s no surprise that secrets can sabotage a marriage. Ask anyone whose partner has cheated on them. But there’s another form of dishonesty that can be just as destructive: secret spending. According to a recent survey of 200 Americans, more than 80% of married couples lie to each other about their purchases. And nearly 20% of married people have credit cards they haven’t told their partner about. The group sampled was relatively small, but the impact of covert spending can be huge. So what’s with all the secrets? Does this sound like you or someone you know?
Mercer 9839

Eli Broad will build a new art museum... Downtown!

The governmental agency that oversees building projects along Grand Avenue approved a plan today, that would allow developer Eli Broad to build an art museum in Downtown Los Angeles. The project, featuring a design by New York architectural film Diller Scofidio + Renfro, already had the approval of the Los Angeles City Council and County Board of Supervisors. Construction is expected to get underway in October. Eli Broad joins guest host David Lazarus to discuss the details of the plan.
Find an archived Episode: