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Old 08-15-2010, 02:31 PM
 
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I don't know if any of you may have read the Los Angeles Times today (8/15) Their front page story was an examination of using test scores to evaluate teachers. They used a process called "value added" and looked at all the teachers in LAUSD in grades 2-5. They featured four by name: two who were "highly effective" and two who were "least effective." At the end of the article there is a notice that they will post the results for ALL teachers in LAUSD in those grades by name in two weeks. The only criteria is a teacher must have taught at least six years in the district and had no fewer than 60 students who took the state tests. Interestingly, one of the "least effective" teachers was highly thought of by both her principal and the district. Her results were a shock to her she said. What do you all think? I'm not really against the idea of doing this to pinpoint teachers who need help and then giving it to them, but printing everyone's results for the public? This is just the first in a series. They touched on what the differences might have been between the two who got higher results and the two who did not but certainly didn't do an in depth analysis of how to improve.


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Old 08-15-2010, 03:19 PM
 
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I don't think it is right to do that at all. They do not have any idea why the results are different. Were the classes stacked? They sure are at my school. There is no way to compare classes because somebody has most of the high kids, someone has a mostly average group, and then somebody gets the low kids.

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another perspective to consider
Old 08-15-2010, 03:29 PM
 
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uONqxysWEk8

That video is by a professor at UVA who explains why value added isn't a way to compare either...very interesting.
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Old 08-15-2010, 03:30 PM
 
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All I can say is wow! Nice to see the LA Times is so unbiased in it's reporting as usual. Working for this district for 20 yrs in both elem and ms, I can say that there are teachers who are wonderful teachers and there are those who should not be teaching. However, the method described in this article, to me, could bring more problems and hurt education. I love the fact that this "value added" process is 40 yrs old.

IMO, this will just force teachers into "helping" students on the state tests. How do they know that the teachers whose students have dramatically improved aren't doing that already?

And we wonder why people want to leave this field?
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Old 08-15-2010, 05:09 PM
 
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We have been judged on "value added" as a school for several years. One problem, as I see it, comes in when a teacher has a lot of advanced students. If they are already at the top there isn't much to be gained, thus no value added. I think the whole thing is nuts!


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Old 08-15-2010, 06:26 PM
 
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I know all about Value Added. It is dependent upon how a child "grows" from one grade to the next. A grade can look "good' if the grade before it is lousy. Say, a third grade averages a score of 39 then the 4th grade gets 44. Well, you would say the 4th grade grew +5. But say your 4th grade teachers were terrific. And they scored 49. Then the 4th grade would be -5. The grade level scores are just an average of all the teachers. Some would be higher and lower. There are so many variables that effect a score - however, psychologists, admin, and math teachers love it because it is "data' and data must be right.


I think that what is happening in LA will happen to us all. No one appreciates or respects teachers. You should follow Dianne Ravitch and others on Twitter. We are being pushed out because parents and others think teachers have it easy, are lazy, spend all their money and don't deserve their jobs.

Then, once they have teachers pushed out - teaching will become a fast food industry of nonunion - hourly workers reading out of an expensive, mass-produced script. Large publishing houses, and others are starting an entire industry marketed to the the education sector. Meanwhile, their kids go to private schools or elite suburban schools.

So, the teacher as we know it I think is an endangered species. I would not be surprised if in twenty years a college degree wouldn't even be required. Only the knowledge to read from a script will be needed as Charter school management companies reap in the tax dollars.
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Interesting
Old 08-15-2010, 09:22 PM
 
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In all this, I'm thinking.....
We have HIPPA
We have FERPA

Do we as teachers have any privacy?
Sure the info in our health records helps the doctor prescribe and improve our health. Do student test scores really have anything to do with our ability to teach?

JMHO...
It's time for the admin to come into our rooms and evaluate the whole situation, teacher ability, too. I want my evaluation based on my effort and knowledge, not everyone else's.
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Old 08-15-2010, 10:29 PM
 
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Isn't a teacher's evaulation private information not to be made public? Can't people be fired for giving out private info? I am just asking and wonder who will be the first to institute a lawsuit over this?
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I agree with poiuy.
Old 08-16-2010, 05:29 AM
 
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Soon, and I think it will be very soon, public schools as we know them will be gone. (I don't think it will take 20 years) The "haves" will pull their children out and buy into online education. Then we won't need as many teachers, so many of us will be offered some kind of an early out deal. I see the U.S. education system as being almost as segregated as it was in the 40s and 50s.
I'm glad I'm leaving in 2 years.
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I am glad
Old 08-16-2010, 05:40 AM
 
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my own children will be out of the system in two years. My daughter will be junior in HS this year and my son has two more years of college. Then they won't have to be in this stupid number system.
I am biding my time but it is not easy in the least.
I have been teaching over 20 yrs. I hate every minute of it because of what has happened during the last 10 years.
Teaching and learning are creative entities. You cannot put measurements on those.
Teaching and learning are complex. There is no solution or right answer in relation to the two.


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I'm going to work
Old 08-16-2010, 06:56 AM
 
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as a teacher between 2 and 7 more years, God willing and the river don't rise. I probably won't stop WORKING at that point, but I think I'll leave education. In 7 years I'll be 62 and I don't think I can work this hard much past the age of 62. So I'll probably do something, but I just don't know yet what that will be. I can tell you that it's not going to involve working every evening and weekend, though (and sad for me, it probably won't involve summers off either).

I feel sorry for the young teachers who thought they'd get to do this their whole lives, then retire. Something tells me that not very many of them are going to get to retire from this job.

You know what is the saddest thing of all though? I just love my job. I love, love, love it, and the politicians are going to take it away from me (we just got 50% of our evaluations tied to test scores--and I teach some of the lowest kids my district can serve up). I have a target on my back now. I am trained to work with struggling readers, I asked to be assigned to the ones who struggle, and I'm probably going to end up getting fired for my trouble. My kids don't show the kind of growth that's demanded. But it makes me sick to think of losing a job that I was really born to do. It's hard to imagine that working in some office or store could ever be as rewarding or fulfilling.

And the legislators, and the politicians, and the newspapers think I'm only in it for the paycheck (say WHAT?!), the Cadillac retirement (again, say WHAT?!), the opportunity to indoctrinate children according to my far left political leanings, and because I am lazy.

What has happened to this country? Why are so many people directing so much hate towards teachers?
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Old 08-16-2010, 11:42 AM
 
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I agree the value-added numbers shouldn't be a part of evaluations, but I did see a part to the piece that made me think: Can't we evaluate teachers on basic things like maintaining attention and getting kids to think critically?

I just wrote a blog post on this very article: http://bit.ly/c9JdVS

I've been thinking a lot about the best way to evaluate teachers. None of us mind criticism (at least we shouldn't) as long as it makes sense to us and to educating kids. We shouldn't be evaluated by crap on our walls or being on pg. X at Y:00, but things like keeping kids' attention seems like a gimme (and we all know bad teachers who don't do that!) What do you think?
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Stupid
Old 08-16-2010, 01:30 PM
 
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Maybe we should publish the authors'/editiors' grades and evaluations online also.

The problem is there is a big picture. My sister for example usually has her students score high in math. She had one student who did very well on everything all year, but yet did not do so great on the state test. It obviously wasn't because of my sister. Maybe the kid was having a bad day, was running late for school, got into a fight with a friend, etc..

The other way-value I guess it was. What happens when things change. Here in CA the 2nd grade test is very easy and the 3rd grade test is very hard. 2nd grade you read it and they fill in bubbles in the book. 3rd grade they are independent. 3rd grade standards are all appropriate for 3rd graders-they aren't ready for it. So every year at our school 3rd graders go down.

Have the editors come and teach for a week and see how easy it is.
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Even worse
Old 08-16-2010, 07:43 PM
 
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Is that there are many teachers who actually agree with and support this kind of thing.

This profession is completely doomed when other teachers agree with this and can't even see what's really going on and how unfair this is.
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I hope there aren't "many"
Old 08-17-2010, 05:55 AM
 
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although I do know they're out there. I always jump their butt and argue with them when they show their colors, though. I won't just sit by silently while another teacher helps to trash his/her colleagues in that manner. Unfortunately, we have a few teachers who have pretty anti-union sentiments. That's okay, I mean everybody has a right to their opinion. BUT--if we don't stick together, we are DOOMED. I wish that if people weren't union fans, they'd at least sit on that sentiment so that our profession isn't divided. United we stand, divided we fall. People may feel perfectly justified in bashing the union, but regardless, they are helping people like Bill Gates and policymakers like Michelle Rhee when they give voice to that.

I am not always thrilled with the union--for instance, I think they've been FAR too silent in the face of all this teacher bashing--but I'll be hanged if I will EVER let the other side know that. If I want to complain about the union, I do it to the union, not the paper, not people outside education.
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Old 08-17-2010, 06:34 AM
 
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I also teach struggling learners in a school that was specifically designed to meet the needs of these kids without excessive sped referral. My kids struggle financially, emotionally, and behaviorally in addition to struggling academically.

Which is ok. That is where they are at. I chose to work with this population and I am rewarded by it. I understand how to make the necessary adjustments, create the appropriate classroom community, and understand when I need to stop reading to clarify misconceptions about a shooting that happened the night before or find breakfast for a kid who didn't get any at home because his middle school age brother "forgot".

We work hard to create a school that teaches (and teaches well), but is also safe and child centered. And most of us do it out of love because we feel we have a personal (or spiritual) calling to do this work in this community. We are probably the most reflective, politicized, and improvement oriented group of people I have ever worked with.

The parents love us. People stay in the community to keep their kids in the school. We are highly respected (and funded) by private foundations, church groups, and the school system. No one walks through the doors of our school without commenting on what a beautiful, calm, happy place it is.

And we would all suffer under the LAUSD system. Because, though we do work on test scores and try and do some work around them, they are not our highest priority. Our scores aren't horrible and have improved consistently, but they reflect what our kids can honestly do (without cheating.) I feel like the teacher who was shocked by her rating... how unfair to be doing so much right but only be judged by the thing that doesn't reflect all of that.

We have talked a lot in our school recently about how to deal with the changes coming down the pike. One option that has been discussed is leaving the school system (we are a charter) and looking for outside funding to bridge the gap. Most of us as teachers can't afford to do that since it would probably lead to less security, money, and benefits in a career with little enough of that.
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Old 08-17-2010, 06:40 AM
 
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My principal says... imagine if doctors were judged by their mortality rates. Everyone would quit shock trauma and work as a podiatrist.

Maybe I should leave the city and find a nice suburban school.
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"Standards"
Old 08-17-2010, 06:56 AM
 
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Isn't is sad that veteran teachers like myself want to retire early and leave the profession not because we hate our jobs (we don't, we actually LOVE teaching), but because education has become a data-driven, "accountability" bunch of BS?
Teaching should be about meeting a child where he/she is at and bringing him/her to the next level of understanding or skill development- not everyone trying to reach a "standard" in lock-step. Anyone who has ever watched a group of babies knows that children develop different abilities at different times in their development. What if we graded parents and rewarded those whose children walked at 10 months or spoke sentences by age 1? Ridiculous!
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What about the kids?
Old 08-17-2010, 07:15 AM
 
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Isn't this a bit of a privacy issue for the kids that were in her classes? I mean, in the town that I live in, people would definitely be looking at the kids in those classes as being 'suspect,' if you know what I mean. I'd be pretty aggravated as a parent, whether my child did well on the test or not. As a teacher, I would be seriously angry because it will never, ever be possible to compare human beings fairly through testing. Kids bring too much baggage with them that has absolutely nothing to do with our teaching. Schools and teachers cannot choose only the 'highest quality ingredients'. That's just so unfair to both the kids and the teachers to publish information that's so specific; there are too many variables beyond the school's control. I really hope our local paper doesn't get any ideas!
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Old 08-17-2010, 03:35 PM
 
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maryteach
Quote:
although I do know they're out there. I always jump their butt and argue with them when they show their colors, though. I won't just sit by silently while another teacher helps to trash his/her colleagues in that manner. Unfortunately, we have a few teachers who have pretty anti-union sentiments. That's okay, I mean everybody has a right to their opinion. BUT--if we don't stick together, we are DOOMED. I wish that if people weren't union fans, they'd at least sit on that sentiment so that our profession isn't divided. United we stand, divided we fall. People may feel perfectly justified in bashing the union, but regardless, they are helping people like Bill Gates and policymakers like Michelle Rhee when they give voice to that.

I am not always thrilled with the union--for instance, I think they've been FAR too silent in the face of all this teacher bashing--but I'll be hanged if I will EVER let the other side know that. If I want to complain about the union, I do it to the union, not the paper, not people outside education.
I'm going to send you a PM to where there are many (well more than I would like to see) teachers who support the Rhode Island firings, the Michelle Rhee firings, are against tenure and against unions because they feel unions support bad teachers....oh and they support value-added.
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Mine will be posted! Grrr...
Old 08-17-2010, 06:21 PM
 
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The criteria is that you've had to have taught at least 60 students in grades 3, 4, or 5 in the last six years. The online article had a box where you could enter your name and see if you are one of the "lucky" ones to get yours posted. They sent me the results today in an email. I am "very ineffective" (bottom 20%) in overall effectiveness, math effectiveness, and English effectiveness. It also shows my entire name, what grade I taught, and what school I taught at. I cannot believe they have the right to take information that I have never seen before, do some statistical stuff to it, and publish it for parents, colleagues, and principals to see! I think I'm a darn good teacher, and I want to know exactly how they determined I was so "ineffective"!
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Old 08-17-2010, 07:15 PM
 
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SoCal Teach, I just wanted to offer you some words of support as a fellow LAUSD employee. I'm fortunate enough not to have taught in a testing grade - so I don't have the stress of the scarlet letter being put upon me - but I can only imagine the stress/worry that you must be going through. The LA Times has placed another target on the backs of LAUSD teachers - and the union is being ineffectual, as per usual (IMO). All I can say is don't ever let the LA Times determine your worth as a teacher. I'm sure there are countless students and parents who are thankful for all that you do in your classroom. The measures they are using to determine "effectiveness" are controversial and flawed at best and admittedly so -- they even state in their article that VAM should not be used to determine the effectiveness of teachers!

Just do what the best of teachers do in times like these. Close your door and teach the best way you know how to teach. I refuse to be demoralized and I hope other LAUSD teachers do the same.
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You guys, I am so, so sorry
Old 08-17-2010, 07:25 PM
 
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This doesn't even sound as if it's even LEGAL. What on earth does the union say about this? Are they being silent like they are in Colorado? I am shocked and horrified by this. This country has lost its mind.
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Old 08-17-2010, 07:47 PM
 
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I must admit I was on the verge of tears while reading your post. If I read that I was "very ineffective" I would want to pack up my stuff and walk out. Cause obviously I've been wasting my time and negatively affecting the children???

But then I would think back to all of the parent conversations I had about the children who hated coming to school and now love it, the child who hated reading (and had difficulty) but now has increased his fluency and confidence and now has his nose buried in a book all night at home, the child who was labelled as "behaviour" and "violent" who had 2 very successful years in my class with only a handful of very minor incidents..never violent, the kids who tell me they love being in my class because they know I care about them and help them when they need it, the kids who have learned to be respectful of others and themselves.

How terrible for you SoCal....but I am sure you are "very effective." Perhaps not in the way your board/state/country thinks, but certainly to the children.
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So Cal
Old 08-17-2010, 08:52 PM
 
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I am so sorry that your name is going to be dragged through the mud. I have been so upset since I saw this article Sunday morning even though I teach 7th grade, which is not going to be released. I started crying when I thought of all the wonderful teachers my three kids had in LAUSD and I can't imagine their names being published for the whole world to see. I think it is totally outrageous and morally wrong. The rest of us need to be worried.
There is a second article today saying that Arne Duncan endorses the release of the data along with the teacher's name because it is the "right of parents to know." I will definitely be canceling my subscription to the LA Times!!!!!
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Old 08-18-2010, 07:28 AM
 
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SoCal Teach, I would talk to a lawyer, maybe one provided through the union. This has class action lawsuit written all over it.

My husband brought up something that scared me. He said, wait until someone decides to sue the teacher because their child got low test scores or the teacher was determined to be ineffective by some newspaper on a witch hunt. He wondered if we need malpractice insurance to protect our assets. He also said it's probably time to get out of teaching, he may be right.

As far as the article goes, I'm not reading the list and I will not buy the LA TIMES. I'm sure my school dist, also in CA, will be working hard to come up with their own value added study on all of us within the year. Can't wait!!!

My thoughts are with you SoCal, stay strong.
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Terrifying
Old 08-18-2010, 04:41 PM
 
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This is absolutely terrible! Here in MI, some of our charter schools do merit pay. My friend teaches in one of these schools. She says the competition would make my stomach turn. Competition over getting certain kids, not sharing supplies or ideas, trying to bring down teachers that people don't "like" (for whatever reason..maybe they wore the wrong shoes that day!)...the thought of it makes me nervous.
I teach in a union strong district, but even they are having a hard time right now. Who do these people think fight for low class sizes? The administration? HA!
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My district
Old 08-18-2010, 04:52 PM
 
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was going to release student growth scores attached to teachers' names on the first day back, next week. It wasn't even going to the paper; it was just going to staff. The union found out and called the state department of education. Turns out that in Colorado, that's against the law. Supposedly, the ed. dept. called our superintendent and told her she couldn't do it, so I assume that won't be happening.

Actually, the way Colorado threw teachers under the bus last spring, I'm surprised anything's against the law here.
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Thank you
Old 08-18-2010, 07:54 PM
 
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Thanks for your support, everyone. I really wouldn't even give two cents about what they plan to print, except I just got hired at a very high-performing school. I'm thinking about how to broach this subject with my new principal, who will undoubtedly learn about my "ineffectiveness" when the results are published. Can you imagine? The staff at my new school will be saying, "We just hired a teacher who has been rated as "very ineffective"." Ugh.
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Old 08-18-2010, 09:55 PM
 
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SoCal, don't give it another thought, stand tall and be proud of your teaching abilities. They hired you because they thought you were right for the job. Go out and have a great year. Remember to teach the way they wanted you to because they hired you. Look at the report ad see if you need to change a thing or two. Unfortunately, we are living in a data, testing environment and we have to change. Yes, students school experiences will suffer. Art and recess and students just chilling for a moment or two will no longer exist. The public supports it , so we have to adapt. Is it right? NO!

I bought a book this summer called, Teach Like a Champion, by Doug Lemov. I recommend it. I finally got through it today. It's a good book that I think every teacher can use to improve their teaching. The irony of the book is that it's based on charter schools in NY City. They claim to have made incredible progress(New York) when really the state has been dumbing down the test. I still recommend the book. It's not a lot different then how I teach(reading first school) but it fine tunes some things and I think it will help me teach in today's society.
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I am so in shock!
Old 08-29-2010, 07:37 AM
 
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Here it is....the public humiliation, I mean listing of all the teachers and their ranks from most to least effective.

http://projects.latimes.com/value-added/

(It won't let me enter anymore---but click on the teacher responses and their names, and you can see their ranks that way)

Here are the teachers' responses..

http://projects.latimes.com/value-ad...ponses/page/1/

wow.
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Disgusting
Old 08-30-2010, 11:24 AM
 
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This makes me sick. I can't imagine working in that area.
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