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Montebello Unified School District Board Candidate Has Questionable Teaching Past



Carlos Cerdan

BY BRIAN HEWS • October 6, 2020

Montebello Unified School District Board candidate Carlos Cerdan has been a teacher  in the Los Angeles Unified School District since 2001 and has the endorsement of the Montebello Teacher’s Association.

His LinkedIn account states “I have experience teaching English Only as well as English Language Learners in grades K-6th grade. CA State Credential – Multiple Subjects Fluent in English and Spanish Current hold a Bilingual Eng/Spa Multiple Subjects Credential from the state of California.”

Cerdan does not list any awards or member organizations, nor are there any committees he has ever participated with.

But he does have one distinction that sets him apart from others.

A 2011 Los Angeles Times study of teacher performance in the LAUSD used the “value-added” rating system to guage Cerdan’s students’ progress on the California Standards Tests in math and English.


A teacher’s impact on student achievement can range from small but meaningful to huge. The value added assessment focuses on gains in academic achievement over a given year that can be attributed to a district, a school, or an individual teacher.

Making judgments about individual teachers requires sophisticated analyses to sort out how much growth is probably caused by the teacher and how much is caused by other factors.

For example, students who are frequently absent tend to have lower scores regardless of the quality of their teacher, so it is vital to take into account how many days students are present.

Thus, to be fair and to provide trustworthy estimates of teacher effectiveness, value-added measures require complicated formulas that take into account as many influences on student achievement as possible.

The Times’ analysis of all LAUSD teachers used valid student scores available from the 2003-04 through 2009-10 academic years.

The Times study found that Cerdan was one of the most “least effective” teachers in the LAUSD system for raising scores in math and English. The numbers from 2009-10 are particularly alarming, indicating he could have been least effective for six years.

The ratings were calculated based on test scores from 128 students.










The Times study was extensive, calculating value-added ratings using four different models. Each model attempted to control for various factors beyond a teacher’s influence and the Times used a model that takes into account more variables that the other models.

For each model, Cerdan was once again rated “least effective” in math and English.

In an email Cerdan commented, “In 2009, LAUSD implemented a rating system called Value Added Measures of teaching.  They had me at a low rating or “least effective” teacher rating.  Upon further research, you’ll see that 60% of LAUSD teachers were affected by that rating. This measure of evaluation was deemed unreliable and is no longer in use.”

That’s not quite true, Louisiana, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, D.C., Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Seattle, and Florida are using value-added systems.

In addition, a PACE study, which is led by faculty directors at Stanford, UC Davis, Berkley, USC, and UCLA, found that schools who did not reach the mandated levels of API, even some schools that ranked at the bottom of the API scale, showed remarkably high scores and raised student achievement using the value-added models compared with currently used metrics.

Cerdan continued, “At a simple glance it looks bad, but in reality, it was a measure charter school supporters in the school board were pushing to evaluate LA teachers to discourage parents from taking their children to public schools.”


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