Edvoice - Issues

S.F., Oakland drop bid for U.S. school funds

October 29 | San Francisco Chronicle

By Jill Tucker

Stuck in a standoff with teachers unions, the San Francisco and Oakland school districts have abandoned efforts to bring in up to $15 million each to develop high-quality math classes for upper-elementary and middle school students.

The two districts spent months preparing a joint application for the next round of federal Race to the Top funding - which required districts to incorporate student test scores, among other criteria, in teacher evaluations.

And because of that critical clause, union leaders refused to sign, as required by the federal application.

"Sometimes, publicly, they've indicated they'd be willing to talk about test scores," said Troy Flint, Oakland Unified spokesman. "When we actually sit down and tried to find some sort of compromise, it becomes apparent there is a complete ideological objection to using test scores, even as a small measure in evaluating teachers."

L.A. schools chief urges union cooperation on federal funds

October 24 | Los Angeles Times

Supt. John Deasy seeks teachers' backing on a grant application that could bring $40 million to LAUSD. The union fears the grant won't cover all the costs of implementing the district's proposal.

By Teresa Watanabe

Faced with a looming deadline, Los Angeles schools chief John Deasy on Wednesday urged the teachers union to lay aside its concerns and back a federal grant application that could bring $40 million to the cash-strapped district.

If the Los Angeles Unified School District wins a federal Race to the Top grant, Deasy said, it could restore hundreds of jobs for teachers, counselors and others to help middle and high school students stay on track for graduation.

"It's a critical opportunity in these painful fiscal times," he said.

Mediator Named in Deadlock Over Teacher Evaluations

October 23 | LA School Report

By Samantha Oltman

Mediator Don Raska has been appointed to try to help resolve the teacher evaluation negotiations between LAUSD and the teachers union (UTLA), according to a UTLA newsletter...

...At the heart of the dispute is how to implement a recent ruling in the Doe v. Deasy case, which requires that student test scores be included as a factor in teacher evaluations. That ruling was based on a lawsuit against LAUSD brought about by a group of parents who claim the district is not complying with the Stull Act, a 1971 law that requires student progress be used in performance evaluations of teachers.

Deasy: Teachers Delaying LAUSD Bid For $40M In Federal Grants

October 22 | CBS LA

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Officials with the Los Angeles Unified School District raced on Monday to meet a fast-approaching deadline to apply for up to $40 million in federal grants.

Superintendent John Deasy told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO that the application would add more jobs to the district payroll and help guide students toward their ultimate goal.

“It would put hundreds of positions to our middle schools and high schools to support students so they could be on track for graduation,” he said.

LAUSD principals agree to use student test scores in their evaluations

October 9 | Los Angeles Daily News

By Barbara Jones

A one-year deal that uses student test data to evaluate principals was approved Tuesday by the school board, although a similar pact for teachers remains out of reach.

The Associated Administrators of Los Angeles OK'd the deal last month as the district tries to comply with a judge's order to have a new data-based performance evaluation system for its educators in place by Dec. 4.

L.A. Unified, union OK system of evaluating principals

September 11 | Los Angeles Times

The one-year agreement allows the use of student achievement as one way of judging administrators.

By Teresa Watanabe

For the first time, Los Angeles public school principals will be evaluated under a new system that includes student achievement as one measure of administrators' effectiveness.

Los Angeles schools Supt. John Deasy announced the one-year agreement with the administrators' union Tuesday, calling it a "remarkable breakthrough."

The pact, which covers Los Angeles Unified's 1,500 principals and assistant principals, is aimed at meeting a Dec. 4 court-ordered deadline to begin using student achievement data to assess administrators and teachers.

Chicago Teachers Go on Strike

September 10 | The Wall Street Journal


Chicago's public-school teachers hit the picket lines Monday, shutting down classes for about 350,000 students in the nation's third-largest school district.

The strike came after the city and the Chicago Teachers Union failed to reach agreement on a four-year contract. The two sides had been negotiating for months and kept talking until late Sunday night before the union announced the strike would go forward. It is the first teachers strike in Chicago in a quarter-century and the first in a big U.S. urban district since one in Detroit in 2006.

Talks in Chicago resumed Monday, but there was no ...

LAUSD proposes new teacher-evaluation system, negotiating with UTLA

September 4 | Los Angeles Daily News

By Barbara Jones

Under a court order to demonstrate that they're trying to devise a new teacher evaluation system, Los Angeles Unified officials said Tuesday that they've presented formal proposals and continue to negotiate with union leaders.

The district's efforts were outlined in a document submitted to Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Chalfant, who ruled in July that LAUSD must devise a performance evaluation that uses student test scores to help gauge a teacher's success. He set a Dec. 4 deadline for the district to finalize a deal with its unions, along with a progress report on Sept. 4.

According to the report, district officials are optimistic that a deal can be reached soon with Associated Administrators of Los Angeles.

California teacher evaluation bill abandoned by lawmakers

September 1 | The Los Angeles Times

Legislative time runs out on the bill that education advocates said would have weakened initiatives in Los Angeles and elsewhere to improve the quality of public school instructors.

By Teresa Watanabe and Michael J. Mishak

Education advocates Friday hailed the eleventh-hour defeat of controversial efforts to rewrite state rules on teacher evaluations that they said would have weakened initiatives in Los Angeles and elsewhere to improve the quality of public school instructors.

Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes (D-Sylmar) had revived a long-dormant bill, AB 5, in the last few weeks of the legislative session to push forward his plan for a statewide uniform teacher evaluation system featuring more performance reviews, classroom observations, training of evaluators and public input into the review process.

But the bill, supported by the powerful California Teachers Assn., attracted a firestorm of criticism over the costs to financially strapped districts and the requirement to negotiate with unions every element of evaluations, including the use of state standardized test scores. Teachers unions have vociferously argued that test scores are too unreliable for use in key personnel decisions.

California lawmakers debate changes to teacher evaluations

August 29 | Contra Costa Times

By Sharon Noguchi

A major showdown in Sacramento has pitted education allies against each other, with school reformers and school districts desperately trying to fend off union attempts to water down teacher evaluations and accountability.

Assembly Bill 5 is backed by teachers unions, one of the most powerful lobbies in Sacramento. On the other side, the California State PTA, reformers such as Education Trust-West and EdVoice, plus the organizations representing school administrators, districts and trustees argued the bill would harm students. Wednesday afternoon, the bill was being debated by the Senate Education Committee.