Tentative Agreement, the T. A. Is Up for the Vote
At the Schools with Audrey Linden
The West Area had their meeting Wednesday, January 9th and one of the topics was Pro and Con statements on the Tentative Agreement. This Agreement will affect all LAUSD teachers. If the T. A. goes through, all teachers will be evaluated as to test scores. One of the question that has arisen is how much of a percentage of test scores will count towards any teacher's evaluation. The State, as other States have done, has mandated that some type of evaluation system be put in place.
The West Area presented Pro and Con speakers in an effort to clarify the T. A. as the voting is next week. Each side has valid arguments. And each side that presented was equally passionate as to why a "yes" vote and why a "no" vote. I will sum up as impartially as I can what the speakers said. Each had two minutes to speak. Considering the length and how convoluted the actual agreement is, this was a short time to sum up.
The opening Pro statement was given by UTLA Treasurer, Arlene Inouye. Arlene said, "This is the best deal we can get." It was mandated by the judge as UTLA had a lawsuit which concluded that some teacher evaluations must be given as a State mandate. "This T. A. is not perfect, but UTLA spent two years hammering it out, and Arlene said, "It saves us."
Brad Jones, AFT also gave a Pro statement. He said, "Other states have it worse with higher percentages. If we disagree and vote Con, it goes back to the judge and he can impose something worse with more accountability". "It is a safeguard until the tide turns. What is the alternative? It is protecting us and that is the bottom line".
Alex Caputo-Pearl Crenshaw High teacher and NEA Board Member gave a Con statement. Alex opened with, "This is not junk science. Again this was done by UTLA with no negotiating or campaigning. The risk if we vote Con is limited and goes back to the judge who will probably only reinforce this the way it is". He is of the belief, "It can't get worse". He is against it because it fosters racial discrimination, gives junk science a foot in the door, and had no campaigning, organizing or negotiating by the teachers.
Noah Lippe-Klein Dorsey High teacher, gave another Con Statement. The danger is in allowing "one thing" to go through at a time. He felt by simply voting on one thing, there will be concessions later. He voiced Alex Caputo-Pearl in the feelings that there was no organizing, no campaigning, no publicizing. He expressed concern that the evaluation numbers will go up and the percentages will go up like it did with reconstitution and privatization. His fear was, "They (LAUSD's Superintendent John Deasy) will try to get AGT in". Deasy was chosen to negotiate Behind Closed Doors.
The floor was open for questions and statements from the West Area Chapter Chair teachers. There was concern about the 8 page evaluations which are part of a Pilot Program Superintendent Deasy is trying out. Certain teachers volunteered, for pay to be part of the new evaluations in a Pilot Program. Teachers wanted to know if these 8 page evaluations will factor in? Their concern was if they vote Pro, there is no leverage.
Arlene Inouye said the case was Doe vs Deasy and LAUSD was being sued for not complying with the Stull Act to evaluate teachers by standards. VAM has punative measures, In Chicago 30 % of the test scores now determine teachers evaluations. "This s a safeguard as it uses multiple measures". If it is voted down, it goes back to the judge. Arlene Inouye expressed concern that the judge may take more stringent measures into account.
She said any supplement to the contract and any changes have to be voted on. The T A cannot be changed. It can't go up in percentages. She said the percentages would be locked in and nothing changed until another vote.
Currently, there is a PERB (Public Employee Relations Board) suit against the District for Superintendent John Deasy's Pilot Evaluations for pay. It is challenged as an "Unfair Practice". Arlene assured us this Tentative Agreement is not the "Pilot" and has nothing to do with the Pilot. UTLA is challenging this Pilot Evaluation Sustem in court.
There was a concern by a teacher who expressed that is murky as to how test scores will be implemented.
A question was raised about extending the evaluation period. It can be extended but both the teacher and the school administrator have to agree on an extension.
Arlene assure the room of teachers that there "has to be a connection to CST (California State Testing) and it is not AGT". "AGT is not part of the Tentative Agreement."
Several teachers present questioned UTLA leadership. Kathy, a teacher in Marina del Rey. wanted to know why isn't UTLA doing what the membership wants? Why aren't they doing what was voted on?
Edwina, a teacher at Charnock Elementary School pointed out that we “have been there; done this before” and "it has not worked".
This pretty much summed up both the Pro and the Con statements. My concern also is that once teachers vote pro on the T. A. any leverage is gone for other issues that arise. Also, are there loopholes or "wiggle room" issues that will come up later as this has happend in the past when we were assured it was a "done deal" and nothing could be changed.
Alex Caputo-Pearl spoke about some illegalities in the recent CTA elections in which votes were thrown out. He challenged the election and was told it was too late. He challenged as soon as he found out. He has a Motin in the works to challenge.
Central Calling Area Chair for substitutes
UTLA Voting membership