So Cal education, LAUSD, the Cal States and the UCs

A tale of two gatherings: Judge poised for final ruling on teacher evaluation system as LAUSD board meets

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LAUSD school board member Steve Zimmer

On Tuesday, while a judge is due to issue a final ruling on whether the LAUSD is abiding by a state law requiring the use of student performance as a factor in teacher evaluations, a few miles away at L.A. Unified headquarters, school board member Steve Zimmer will introduce a resolution to reject the use of academic growth over time as a system for measuring such progress.

"Academic Growth over Time" is a measurement system developed by the district using state test scores that forms the basis of its current pilot program involving 700 teachers, who have volunteered to try having student progress included as a measurement in their evaluations.

The district's attorneys used the roll-out of the AGT system as an example of how it is working to abide by the 40-year-old Stull Act, which requires student performance be part of teacher evaluations, in the case Doe vs. Deasy.


Judge tentatively rules LAUSD must include student progress in teacher evaluations

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Los Angeles schools Supt. John Deasy

A judge tentatively ruled today that the Los Angeles Unified School District is not abiding by a 41-year-old state law that requires student progress be included as a measure in teacher evaluations.

Both parties will be in court Tuesday to make their arguments in Doe vs. Deasy before Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfant. Chalfant will then issue a final ruling.

“The District does not currently comply with the Stull Act's requirement that teachers and principals be evaluated by the progress of students toward District standards, however measured, and by the progress of students toward State standards as measured by the CSTs. The District must do so, and a writ will issue compelling this task," Chalfant writes in his ruling.

The suit was filed in November by the Sacramento-based nonprofit EdVoice on behalf of seven unnamed parents.


Lawsuit: California laws protect teachers at cost of students' right to education

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Attorneys representing eight schoolchildren are suing California because they say the state's laws on teacher tenure, layoffs and dismissal violate students' constitutional right to an education by protecting ineffective teachers.

The suit, filed Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, is backed by a nonprofit education reform group called Students Matter. It names the state, Gov. Jerry Brown, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, the California Department of Education, the state Board of Education, L.A. Unified and Alum Rock Union School District as defendants.

Five of the eight students attend L.A. Unified schools, while the remainder attend schools in Pasadena Unified, Sequoia Union High School District, and Alum Rock Union School District.

The suit blames five California laws, dubbed the "Challenged Statutes," on teacher tenure, seniority-based layoffs, and the dismissal process, for denying administrators the flexibility to staff their schools effectively.


It's the law, court briefs allege, LAUSD needs to include student progress in teacher evals

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Two briefs filed this week allege LAUSD needs to include student progress as part of teacher evaluations.

Two briefs were filed this week in a Los Angeles County Superior Court case that alleges the Los Angeles Unified School District is violating a state law requiring student progress be included in teacher evaluations. 

“By failing to assess teachers and administrators based on the progress of pupils and including that assessment as part of the annual evaluation, the LAUSD annually fails in its statutory obligations to the hundreds of thousands of children, their parents and guardians, taxpayers and the community it is responsible to serve,” states a brief by lawyers representing seven unnamed parents.

The suit, filed in November by the Sacramento-based nonprofit Ed Voice on behalf of the parents, is set to go to trial in June.

At its core is the more than 40-year-old  “Stull Act,” which requires school districts “evaluate and assess certificated employee performance as it reasonably relates to the progress of pupils” on standards established by the district of expected achievement in each subject area at each grade level. 


Teachers who seduce students may lose their pensions, benefits

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California State Capitol in Sacramento

Some teachers who have romanced their pupils were not engaged in illegalities because the students were 18 or over.

But a new bill scheduled to be introduced Tuesday in Sacramento yearns to punish educators who seduce their students no matter the age of their young love.

Republican Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen, of Modesto, Assembly Bill 1861 authored the bill that would strip teachers of pension and retiree benefits if they engage in an inappropriate relationship with a student (of any age) at the same school that they teach.

The bill is inspired by the controversial case of James Hooker, a 41 year old Modesto high school teacher, who left his wife and 17-year old daughter to move in with his doe-eyed blonde 18-year-old student Jordan Powers. He also quit teaching.

Powers' mother, Tammie Mullins Powers, took to Facebook to tell her 6,668 subscribers that she supports the bill that would make the crime a felony. Mrs. Powers writes that she hopes the bill will be passed not just in California, but across the United States.