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

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

Doe v. deasy

Andres Aguila/KPCC

Attorney Scott Witlin, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and EdVoice president Bill Lucia (left to right) talk to the media about the decision in the case of Doe v. Deasy on June 12, 2012. The judge ruled LAUSD must include student performance data as part of its evaluation of teachers and school administrators.

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.

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.


Belvedere Middle School teacher defends his teaching after rocky superintendent visit

Deasy walks campus

Tami Abdollah/KPCC

Superintendent John Deasy walks through an economics classroom at Los Angeles High School during a surprise visit.

Remember Carlos Tejada?

He's the 7th-grade teacher whose classroom Superintendent John Deasy angrily walked out of during a surprise visit to Belvedere Middle School in April. Tejada didn't get back in touch with me in time for my profile of Deasy, but we were able to catch up last week.

Tejada was feeling enough paranoia (his word) to record our conversation in case Deasy took issue with our interview. "I don't know the man," Tejada said, "but from what I've heard, for lack of a better word, he's on a power trip, almost... I'm just covering my behind."

Tejada said he wanted to make clear that he welcomes people walking into his classroom at any time: "That's why I'm an educator, to serve the community. I'm a public servant," he said.

Tejada has taught at Belvedere since he started as a teacher 11 years ago. He said he wasn't surprised when Deasy walked into his fourth-period class. He kept his cool and continued his lesson on the Renaissance. Deasy was upset by what appeared to be a lack of rigor in the instruction. Students were being asked to define vocabulary words for an exam the next day by writing out the definition or drawing a picture.


Parcel tax off November ballot after LA Unified school board vote

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez/KPCC

Several hundred people protested outside L.A. Unified headquarters at a board meeting earlier this year.

The LAUSD school board unanimously voted today to remove the parcel tax from the November ballot after Superintendent John Deasy requested the district postpone its fund-raising effort until after the election.

The board voted 5-0 to remove the measure, after approving its placement on the ballot in March. School board members Steve Zimmer and Bennett Kayser were not present for the vote and the item passed without comment, said district spokesman Thomas Waldman.

A lot can change in just a few months. As the November ballot has grown crowded with multiple tax-raising initiatives, Deasy decided last week that L.A. Unified’s parcel tax might be one measure too many.

The parcel tax would have created dedicated education funding for a district that has experienced $2 billion in state funding cuts over the last four years. It would cost property owners $298 per year over five years to raise hundreds of millions of dollars.
But Deasy said it's important for voters to focus on Gov. Jerry Brown’s initiative in November, which would raise sales tax and income tax on higher earners.


LAUSD school board to vote on removing parcel tax from November ballot

Damian Dovarganes/AP

Teachers, parents and supporters rally as the Los Angeles Unified School District board meets to consider budget cuts and layoffs.

The L.A. Unified school board will vote Tuesday on removing the parcel tax from the November ballot after Superintendent John Deasy requested the district postpone its fund-raising effort until after the election, a district spokesman said today.

The board approved placing the parcel tax on the ballot in March. It was supposed to help the district close its budget shortfall and provide reliable education funding in light of the constant state cuts. But over the last few months the November ballot has grown crowded with initiatives asking voters to raise taxes.

Last week Deasy expressed worry that this would jeopardize approval of Gov. Jerry Brown's initiative.

"We run a risk of having too many measures before the public," Deasy said in a statement

He said it is important for voters to focus on Brown's initiative, which will increase sales tax and income tax on higher earners. If Brown's measure does not pass, education will face a roughly $6 billion cut under the governor's proposed budget.


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

Mercer 1505

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez/KPCC

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.