Can an SB 736 Compromise Be Found in Los Angeles?

From the Los Angeles Times:

The recent groundbreaking agreement over evaluations for educators in the Los Angeles school district is a major victory for the teachers union because it limits the use of a controversial — but increasingly widespread — measurement of teacher effectiveness.

The tentative pact puts the nation’s second-largest school system at odds with a national trend to gauge the effect of teachers on student achievement by using a value-added analysis. That method, known in Los Angeles Unified as Academic Growth Over Time, is opposed by many teacher unions as unreliable; but it is being used in Illinois, New York, Texas, Florida, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere.

The restrictions on using that method will force L.A. Unified to alter its new teacher evaluation system, which every principal and one volunteer instructor in all of the district’s 1,300 schools were to be trained on this year. The new system was to include an individual growth rating as a key measure of teachers, along with a rigorous new observation process, parent and student feedback and an instructor’s contribution to the school community.

Instead of the growth rating for individual teachers, the district and United Teachers Los Angeles agreed to use a mix of individual and schoolwide data, such as raw state test scores, district assessments and high school exit exams, along with rates of attendance, suspension, graduation, course completion and other indicators.

Well, well.  It’s amazing to see what might be hashed out when stakeholders are allowed to take part in the process. Unlike the Michelle Rhee inspired SB 736 which proved to be an epic failure when it was released last week, there are elements in the LA plan which actually matter.  Attendance, graduation, suspension and course completion are more valuable  indicators of student success than a multiple choice  test someone in another state creates.

Perhaps the best indicator of how good the idea is comes from who doesn’t like it. Gloria Romero, lead hack for California’s Democrats for Education Reform doesn’t like it because “the agreement makes all individual value-added ratings confidential. It does raise questions with the public’s right to know about performance.” Romero is one of the main agitators for parent trigger legislation and doesn’t want to lose the ability to stir up parents with sketchy data to demonize teachers and schools.

Will Rick Scott seize upon this opportunity and send these options back to Florida’ school districts to reconfigure SB 736’s flawed calculus?



About Bob Sikes

A long time ago and a planet far, far away I was an athletic trainer for the New York Mets. I was blessed to be part of the now legendary 1986 World Series Championship. My late father told me that I'd one day be thankful I had that degree in teaching from Florida State University. He was right and I became twice blesses to become a teacher in the late 1990's. After dabbling with writing about the Mets and then politics, I settled on education.
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