The value-added assessments of teachers--which use improvements in student test scores to evaluate teacher effectiveness--has grown in popularity across the country with support from the federal Department of Education, which has tied teacher evaluations to the Race to the Top state-grant program, reports the New York Times. But their use remains controversial. Teachers’ unions argue that the method is unfair and incomplete and have fought its implementation across the country.

Colleagues of Rigoberto Ruelas were alarmed when he failed to show up for work one day in September. They described him as a devoted teacher who tutored students before school, stayed...

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