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LAUSD issues guidelines on teacher evaluations, sparking new controversy

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Nick Ut/AP

(AP Photo/Nick Ut)

L.A. Unified on Friday unveiled its plan for how principals will incorporate the results of student testing in teacher evaluations--and union officials said they were stunned by the details.

Superintendent John Deasy said 30 percent of a teacher’s evaluation will be based on a mix of individual and school-wide testing data starting next year. The remaining 60 percent will be comprised of “classroom observation and other similar factors.”

“These guidelines are a vital step in our continuing effort to provide students with the highest-performing teachers,” Deasy said.  “I look forward to working with the teacher’s union and principals in successfully implementing this system.”
 
Earlier this month, the school district and the teacher's union agreed to use student test data in evaluating teacher performance, but they never agreed on exactly how much it would count toward calculating teacher effectiveness.

The deal was reached just days before a court-ordered deadline that required LAUSD to use test scores in rating in order to comply with the California’s Stull Act.

United Teachers of Los Angeles president president Warren Fletcher said Deasy suggested the 30 percent number during negotiations, but Fletcher rejected the idea and the Superintendent took it off the table.
 
“To see this percentage now being floated again is unacceptable,” Fletcher said.

"Superintendent John Deasy may not unilaterally impose percentages into the teacher evaluation process," UTLA said in a statement Friday. "He is free to express his opinions, but any attempt to require principals to assign a specific weight to student test data in a teacher’s evaluation is a violation of the protections in an agreement between UTLA and the District."

Both sides had agreed that teachers' final evaluation will include student results on the California Standards Test from the previous year or years, in addition to the schoolwide Academic Growth over Time measure. Teachers will also be judged on students' California High School Exit Exam scores, API scores, graduation and dropout rates as well as classroom observation.

Howver, scores of Academic Growth over Time for students in an individual teacher's class will not be part of final evaluations or be used to come up with specific performance goals.

The district has already begun training principals on the new system. They are being instructed to set goals for next year using this year’s results.

Daniel Harrison, principal at John Marshall High School in Los Feliz said principals trained in the Educator Growth Development model over the summer.

“Our observations, that we’ve been doing this year, have already been influenced by the additional training,” he said.  

About 30 states require the use of student test scores in teacher evaluations. In many states they account for up to 50 percent of teacher ratings.   

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