Teacher Evaluation Changes Threatened by California Bill

A long-dormant bill that could significantly impede efforts in Los Angeles and elsewhere to use student test scores to evaluate teachers has been revived and faces a key legislative test Thursday.

If passed, the bill would impose a new requirement that all aspects of teacher evaluation systems be collectively bargained, changing current law that school districts believe empowers them to design performance reviews on their own.

Since teacher unions have vociferously opposed the use of test scores in evaluations, saying they are too unreliable for decisions on hiring and firing, the bill would probably weaken the movement to do so.

Critics decried the bill as a bald attempt by teacher unions to kill the Los Angeles Unified School District‘s new voluntary evaluation system, which uses state standardized test scores for the first time to measure how effective instructors are in helping students progress. L.A. Supt. John Deasy has asserted that the district has a right to launch the program without negotiations, a position sharply opposed by United Teachers Los Angeles.

Deasy said the bill, AB 5 by Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes (D-Sylmar) and set for review Thursday in the Senate Appropriations Committee, will jeopardize the new program and weaken efforts to hold teachers and administrators accountable for their students’ academic progress.

“This current bill, if passed, would really weaken the progress we’re making,” he said. “It will end a great deal of it.” <Read more.>

Via Teresa Watanabe and Michael J. Mishak, Los Angeles Times.

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