Edvoice - Issues

Teachers group unveils its proposal for new evaluations

June 13 | Los Angeles Times

By Teresa Watanabe

A group of Los Angeles teachers Wednesday unveiled their own proposal for a new performance review system that would use both state standardized test scores and assessments chosen by individual schools to measure how well instructors help their students learn.

The proposal by Educators 4 Excellence, whose L.A. chapter of 900 teachers was launched last November, came one day after a Los Angeles Superior Court judge found that the Los Angeles Unified School District had violated a state law requiring the use of such student achievement measures in its instructor evaluations. It is the latest in a flurry of recent proposals by L.A. teacher and community groups to endorse the use of student test scores in job-performance reviews.

LAUSD ordered to use student achievement in judging teachers

June 13 | Los Angeles Times

A court finds that L.A. Unified violated state law requiring measurements of pupils' progress be used to evaluate instructors. But he gives the district wide latitude on how to measure learning.

By Teresa Watanabe

Over the objections of teachers and administrators groups, the Los Angeles Unified School District was ordered Tuesday to use students' academic achievement in their teachers' evaluations.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfant affirmed his preliminary ruling this week, finding that the district has violated a 40-year-old state law, known as the Stull Act, requiring that evaluations of teachers and principals include measures of how much students learn what the state and district expects them to know.

Judge: LA Unified must include student performance data in teacher evaluations

June 13 | KPCC - Southern California Public Radio

By Tami Abdollah

L.A. Unified must include student progress as a measure in teacher evaluations in order to abide by state law, a judge ruled at a hearing Tuesday.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfant affirmed his 25-page tentative ruling (with minor modifications) that was issued Monday in a more than hour-long court hearing today after a bevy of attorneys representing the district, United Teachers Los Angeles, Associated Administrators of Los Angeles, and others, made their final arguments in Doe vs. Deasy.

Judge backs using student achievement to evaluate L.A. teachers

June 12 | Los Angeles Times

In a preliminary ruling, the court supports charges that L.A. Unified is violating the law by not using students' performance — including test scores — in reviewing teachers.

By Teresa Watanabe

In a tentative ruling that could potentially transform California teacher evaluations, the Los Angeles Unified School District was ordered Monday to use students' academic achievement in reviewing instructors.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfant upheld contentions by a group of Los Angeles parents that the district was violating a 40-year-old state law, known as the Stull Act, which requires that teacher evaluations include measures of how well pupils are learning what the state and district expects them to know each year. The law was amended in 1999 to specifically require the use of state standardized test scores as one measure.

Judge orders LAUSD to use student test scores in teacher evaluations

June 11 | Los Angeles Daily News

By Barbara Jones

Los Angeles Unified must begin using student test scores as a factor in evaluating teacher performance in order to bring the school district into compliance with state law, a judge said Monday in a tentative ruling.

Superior Court Judge James Chalfant issued his 25-page preliminary decision in response to a lawsuit filed by Sacramento-based advocacy group EdVoice challenging the performance evaluation system in Los Angeles Unified, the largest district in the state and the second-largest in the country.

The judge is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the case today, and issue his final ruling next month.

"We're very encouraged by the direction of the tentative ruling," EdVoice President Bill Lucia said in a phone interview. "The enterprise of public education is about kids learning, and how kids are learning should be included in the assessment of a teacher's job performance."

Judge delays ruling on suit targeting LAUSD teacher evaluations

June 5 | Los Angeles Times

The litigation would force L.A. Unified to use test scores in teacher evaluations. The judge says he might issue a tentative decision Monday.

By Teresa Watanabe

A landmark parent lawsuit aimed at forcing the Los Angeles Unified School District to use student test scores in teacher evaluations received its first court hearing Tuesday in a case that could transform the way California instructors are reviewed.

The lawsuit demands that L.A. Unified follow a state law, known as the Stull Act, that directs school districts to use evidence of student learning in job performance reviews, including state standardized test scores. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfant delayed ruling on the case but said he expected to issue a tentative decision Monday.

L.A. Unified Supt. John Deasy, although named as a defendant, said Tuesday that he agreed with the lawsuit's major assertions: that state law requires the use of student test scores in evaluations and that the district does not use them except in a limited voluntary program involving 700 teachers and principals.

LA groups want test scores part of evaluations

June 1 | Educated Guess

Between a quarter and a third of evaluation score

By John Fensterwald

Two Los Angeles education groups have offered separate teacher evaluation frameworks that they hope will help break the impasse between Los Angeles Unified and its teachers union, United Teachers Los Angeles.

“There is frustration that, even after years of discussion, there still is no new system in Los Angeles,” Mike Stryer, a former Los Angeles Unified teacher who helped create the plan for Our Schools,  Our Voice Coalition, said at a news briefing Thursday...

...On Tuesday, in Los Angeles County Superior Court, there will be arguments in a suit brought by the nonprofit EdVoice on behalf of Los Angeles Unified and UTLA over the failure to include standardized tests in evaluations. EdVoice makes a good case that the Stull Act, the 40-year-old state law on teacher evaluations, requires test-score use, but districts like Los Angeles Unified have ignored the provision.

Record number of school districts in state face bankruptcy

May 21 | Los Angeles Times

By Teresa Watanabe

Pummeled by relentless budget cuts, a record number of California school districts are facing bankruptcy, state Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced Monday.

The Inglewood Unified School District and 11 others -– most in northern California -- are currently not able to pay their bills this school year or next, according to a biannual report on the financial health of the state’s 1,037 school systems compiled by the state Department of Education. An additional 176 school districts may not be able to meet their financial obligations.

All told, the financially troubled districts serve 2.6 million children. And the picture could dramatically worsen if initiatives to raise taxes for public schools by Gov. Jerry Brown and others fail to pass in November, officials said.

Obama honors Burbank's Rebecca Mieliwocki as teacher of the year

April 24 | Los Angeles Times

By Stephen Ceasar

President Obama recognized Burbank teacher Rebecca Mieliwocki as the 2012 National Teacher of the Year during a ceremony Tuesday at the White House...

...Mieliwocki said teachers must be evaluated from a variety of perspectives, including data, to get a true picture of their effectiveness. Teachers' connections with their students, colleagues and community, as well as student writing scores and test scores, should all be weighed together, she said.

"Accountability matters to me. I have to know I am doing a good job and know what areas I need to improve in," she told The Times. "But I need to be looked at through every one of those lenses, not just one."

Easing the burden of deferrals

April 23 | Educated Guess

Districts would get small reimbursements

By John Fensterwald

A bill working its way through the state Senate would require the state to share the financial burden it causes the next time it delays money due K-12 districts. Only a portion of the short-term interest charges that many districts face when forced to take out short-term loans would be reimbursed. But SB 1491 at least would recognize that billions of dollars in late payments can create an expensive cash crisis for districts, many of them in low-income areas.

Within the past decade the state has used late payments, called deferrals, to help balance the budget. At this point, $10.4 billion -- about 30 percent of state money owed to K-12 and community colleges -- is budgeted in one fiscal year, but paid in the next year. Districts that cannot borrow internally, from their own accounts, have turned to county offices of education if available or to the open market, at interest rates from a few percentage points up to double-digit rates for some charter schools.