Much has happened since we last talked with LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy, the man with arguably the toughest job in the city. His massive district has begun testing its new pilot evaluation program, which includes nearly 1,000 teachers and 104 participating schools, in the hopes of instituting a permanent, improved evaluation system by the 2012-13 school year. Though a proposed injunction on behalf of the powerful teacher’s union UTLA threatened to prevent the program from getting off the ground, a judge allowed LAUSD to proceed, and it’s developed an approach that incorporates detailed observations and feedback from parents and students. Whether this program will be implemented across L.A., and whether any new evaluation procedures will contain the controversial “value-added” approach that incorporates student achievement, remains to be seen. Deasy also addressed another issue of concern to educators and administrators in his recent op-ed piece about teacher employment contracts for the Los Angeles Times, in which he suggested changes in hiring, evaluations, tenure, compensation, work agreements, and the importance of seniority. In the midst of negotiations with UTLA over the district’s terms of employment, the Superintendent has tried hard to make important changes to sensitive issues that some have applauded, but others have decried.
But, he’s pleased all by presiding over an increase in LAUSD’s graduation rate and a decrease in its dropout rate, though he admits that the district still has a long way to go when it comes to boosting student achievement. It ain’t easy being Deasy…join Patt for a discussion of these recent reforms, and chime in with your education-related questions and comments.
John Deasy, superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District