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Board Candidates Fault Process, Not 30% Figure

Hillel Aron | February 18, 2013

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Monica Ratliff

On Friday, LAUSD issued a new guidance telling principals to make student achievement 30 percent of a teacher’s evaluation starting next year.

Almost immediately, UTLA President Warren Fletcher objected, arguing that the 30 percent figure was too high and a district-wide process was overly prescriptive.

Since then, the LA TImes has reported that District 4 School Board challenger Kate Anderson supports Superintendent John Deasy’s teacher evaluation guidance and that District 4 School Board member Steve Zimmer supports the idea of a district-wide guidance but is concerned about potential delays caused by union objection.

But what about the other candidates?  Reached by LA School Report, a number of UTLA-backed candidates were also critical of the guidance. They generally didn’t object to the idea that principals should use the same guidance district-wide. Two out of three didn’t object to Deasy’s 30 percent figure. However, they faulted Deasy for failing to communicate the 30 percent figure ahead of time.

Monica Ratliff, running in the East Valley’s District 6, told LA School Report she thought 30% sounded too high, “particularly since it’s not your own AGT [Academic Growth Over Time].”Ratliff is one of the few current teachers running for School Board, and has been critical of the new evaluation’s use of school-wide AGT.

Ratliff wondered why the percentage wasn’t negotiated as part of the tentative agreement, signed by both parties in November. Like Zimmer, she agreed that a percentage was something that should be mandated from the district. “You have to give people some guidance. Or else what is it?” she said. “I understand Deasy’s attempt to give guidance. I just think it should have been negotiated ahead of time.”

Isabel Vazquez, running to unseat School Board President Monica Garcia in East LA’s District 2*, made a similar argument. “It’s not the percentage that would be applied that’s the issue, it’s the lack of communication,” she said. “It would be ideal for the Superintendent to say, ‘This is what we’re thinking,’ and then union would react to it. It seems to me there’s no trust among the superintendent’s office and the teachers union at this point.”

Also running in District 2, Robert Skeels agreed that Deasy had jumped the gun. “Everybody knew that at some point here would be some percentage,” said Skeels. “He essentially declared it by fiat. And that’s how Deasy negotiates. He makes announcements to the press.”

We’ll let you know when we hear back from any of the remaining candidates – or when we have more to tell you about how the district and union communicated with teachers about the new teacher evaluation guidance.

Note: A previous version of this post said Isabel Vazquez was running in District 6.

Previous posts: District Makes Student Achievement 30% of Teacher Evaluation*Reaction Roundup: Teacher Evaluation AgreementImplementing the Teacher Evaluation DealUnion Warns Against Rejecting Teacher Evaluation Deal

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