Scramble Over Teacher Evaluation
Hillel Aron | August 30, 2012
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It was a mad scramble in Sacramento yesterday, and well into the night, with state legislators trying to get every bill they possibly could out the door before recess, Friday at midnight.
And perhaps nowhere was the scramble madder than in the Senate education committee, where lawmakers desperately tried to amend AB 5, a bill that would change how public school teachers are evaluated.
Among many issues being debated are the appropriate use of student achievement in teacher evaluations, the role of local bargaining agreements, political relationships between unions and Democratic lawmakers, and the fate of the lawsuit known as Doe v. Deasy, which would make student achievement part of teacher evaluation in LAUSD.
John Fensterwald of Ed Source has been tracking the bill and explaining its evolution wonderfully: “Taken together, the amendments would restore districts’ authority to set local standards used to evaluate teachers and explicitly require that state standardized test scores be used as one measure,” he writes in this story (More amendments coming to AB 5). However, “sensing that AB 5 is an uncertain experiment in collaboration between unions and districts, the committee is also requiring that the bill be reviewed in five years and sunset in six if found not to work.”
Superintendent John Deasy and others in Los Angeles are worried that AB 5 could disrupt ongoing negotiations mandated by a judge in Doe v. Deasy to create new teacher evaluations that include some measure of pupil progress.
In an email to me yesterday, Ben Golombek, Deputy Chief of Staff to Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes (AB 5’s sponsor) wrote that “there’s also a provision in the bill that would allow any current evaluation process can stay in place for the duration of the agreement, so whatever agreement they reach under Doe v. Deasy in LA will stand.”