TEST SCORES TO COUNT FOR 30% of A TEACHER’S EVALUATION at LAUSD
At the Schools with Audrey Linden
UTLA had been negotiating with LAUSD Superintendent Dr. John Deasy over teacher evaluations. It was a court order by L. A. County Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfant that brought Deasy together with UTLA President Warren Fletcher. The Judge had determined that the District had been in violation by not using test scores in teachers’ evaluations. Superintendent Deasy had wanted the figure of 30% in the Tentative Agreement but Warren Fletcher said no. Deasy took the figure off the table. The Tentative Agreement was presented to the voting body of teachers at the House of Representatives. And, the Tentative Agreement passed.
UTLA did not get any exclusion as to the percentage the test scores would count. UTLA did not put any limitations in the Tentative Agreement. In Deasy’s last interview to the L A Times, he stated that he would get the “details” of the Tentative Agreement out within two weeks. “Details”? weren’t they spelled out?
UTLA had it’s attorneys review the Tentative Agreement and found all in order. How could they not see that Superintendent John Deasy would put the 30% back in when he finalized the “details”? Many who voted “no” knew this would happen. If each and every detail was not locked in, there would be wiggle room, and it seems there is. Deasy has set the percentage of raw test scores at 30%. The teachers’ evaluations are not based on improvement but on the actual raw test scores. Deasy is quoted as saying, “poor scores could contribute directly to dismissal.” “We do this for students every day.” “Now, it’s time to do for teachers.”
It appears that the goal is to fire teachers whose students do not test well. And, students who do not test well are not “fired” or sent out of LAUSD’s school system. But they will be removed form charter schools. This does not bode well for teachers, especially teachers who work at low performing schools or who have a lot of English Language Learners (ELLs).
Another part of the evaluation will be observation. But, who will be doing the observing? Deasy had hired a group of people supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Eli Broad Academy who will be going into schools to do the observations. That have been backed by Gates and Broad’s money and while paid six figures now and employed by LAUSD, where will their loyalties be? Will it be with public education or with charters? Want to venture a guess? And, the charters will drop those low performing students and Special Ed students.
The question is how could UTLA not have anticipated this move? It has happened repeatedly that once an agreement had been reached and teachers had voted for it, Deasy found wiggle room and changed these other agreements. Why weren’t some iron clad measures or stop gaps put in place? Was this naivety or a foolhardy action on the part of UTLA to urge a “yes” vote for the Tentative Agreement?
The handwriting was on the wall, but UTLA President Warren Fletcher did not see it. It was written with a thick black marker. How could one not see it?
Now, teachers may well be at the effect of raw test scores for their evaluations and may be fired for performing poorly when their students do not perform well. Who would want to teach at a low performing school? Who would want to take on the challenge of ELL students? Everybody cannot teach at schools where the API is 900 or better.
How will this be resolved? Will UTLA sue? And, in the meantime, teachers will be held accountable. Those who voted “no” on the Tentative Agreement has a foreboding this would happen. The question is “Now what”?
BHUSD Adult School Teacher
Central Calling Area Chapter Chair substitutes
Voting member HOR