The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Los Angeles:
Suicide of a Dedicated Teacher

Oct 11, 2010

On September 26, the body of Rigoberto Ruelas Jr., a 39-year-old Los Angeles teacher, was found under a forest bridge. Authorities said the likely cause of death was suicide.

Ruelas had recently been named a “less effective” teacher–based on his students’ test scores–in a ranking published on the internet by the Los Angeles Times. Did his death have anything to do with this? Fellow teachers have said that Ruelas was upset over his rating, but no one knows for sure.

One thing is certain, though. Ruelas was a dedicated teacher who had been working at the same elementary school for 17 years. He hardly missed a day of work. He lived in the same working-class neighborhood where he taught. And he was highly respected by students, parents and co-workers alike, for his efforts to help students avoid gangs.

Certainly, all these are things that make a difference in students’ lives. But these are also the very things that the “standardized tests” don’t measure! And they are the very things that politicians eager to turn the schools over to “private enterprise” care nothing about.