Months after a judge ordered the Los Angeles Unified School District to include student test scores in teacher evaluations, union and district officials have not yet reached an agreement, according to court filings Tuesday on the first of two implementation deadlines.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfant ruled in July that the district must abide by the more than 40-year-old Stull Act by Dec. 4. The district was required to submit a brief to the court updating it on its progress by Sept. 4.
The update shows that the United Teachers Los Angeles has met with the district 11 times since July 11 — including a handful of meetings prior to the July 24 ruling, and will meet again Thursday. The Associated Administrators of Los Angeles have met with the district nine times since June 29 and will have another meeting Friday.
L.A. Unified has also submitted written proposals to both unions on issues regarding the process, according to the court filing. "AALA is optimistic that agreement will be reached with the District..." the brief states.
Scott Witlin, the attorney who represented parents suing the district in the case, said he wasn't surprised by the lack of an agreement. He was, however, surprised by how few times the unions had met with the district.
"Obviously there's been a lot of days between the middle of July and today, and they haven't made very good use of their time...I mean, they're violating the law," Witlin said. "The district has to have a dance partner who's willing to dance."
A spokeswoman for UTLA could not be reached for comment.
Because of the December deadline, if both unions do not each come to an agreement with the district shortly, it is likely that the district and one or both unions will be at an impasse and need to go through the mediation and fact-finding process under the state's Public Employment Relations Board.
The suit called Doe vs. Deasy was filed in November by the Sacramento-based nonprofit EdVoice on behalf of seven unnamed parents. The core of the brief centers on the 41-year-old Stull Act, which requires school districts to include standardized tests scores as a factor in teacher evaluation.
In his ruling, Chalfant left the details of how the district must comply with the "pupil progress requirement" primarily to its discretion. He said details such as the system of measurement, how that plays into a teacher's evaluation and how much it is weighted, may all require collective bargaining.
The filing comes days after the annual release of standardized test scores by the California Department of Education. It also comes on the heels of the death of AB 5, a measure taken up by by Democratic state Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes, of Sylmar, that would have required the teacher evalution process be collectively bargained. Fuentes pulled the plug on the measure at the eleventh hour citing a need for more public input and effectively killing the bill for this session, as opposition and unease among legislators grew.