State bill could cause trouble for LA Unified plan to use student test scores in teacher evaluations

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Legislation in the state Legislature would require California's school districts to include how teachers are evaluated in negotiations, which could get in the way of a recent court order directing Los Angeles Unified to show proof it was using student test scores in those evaluations, the L.A. Times reports. The bill, AB 5, is set for review Thursday in the state Senate Appropriations Committee.

The bill would require that all aspects of teacher evaluation systems be included in collective bargaining between the districts and unions, rather than the current system which school districts use to design performance reviews themselves. Teacher unions have opposed the use of student test scores in evaluations.

Critics have said the bill is an attempt to kill L.A. Unified's new voluntary evaluation system using state standardized test scores to measure teachers' effectiveness. L.A. Unified Supt. John Deasy has said the district can launch the program without negotiations, according to the Times, while the United Teachers Los Angeles union has opposed that position.

The bill had been on the legislative back burner after being introduced in 2010 due to a lack of funding, but now Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes is proposing paying for the bill's requirements with $89 million in unused funds that had been allocated to low-performing schools for various improvements, including reducing class sizes. Of that money, $17 million could go to L.A. Unified.


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