Latest UTLA Survey Takes Aim at Common Core Readiness*
Hillel Aron | August 16, 2013
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The teachers union is asking members to take yet another online survey — this one focusing on efforts by LA Unified to acclimate teachers to the challenges of the new Common Core curriculum.
The introduction to the survey appears to reflect skepticism by union leadership about how the district is going about it, questioning why $44 million has been allocated for “out-of-classroom positions.” As an example: “$160,000 for an Organization Change Management Position. What?”
But if the UTLA leadership is dubious of the Common Core budget, some union members are dubious of the survey, which ask teachers about their familiarity and comfort with the Common Core curriculum, including how much “professional development” they have received and whether they feel prepared to teach it. One question asks: “How prepared do you think your students are to master the Common Core State Standards?”
Several teachers took to the message board for Progressive Educators for Action took to its message board to express their concerns.* PEAC is a group that strongly opposes the spread of charter schools and the use of public school choice to upend district schools.
“So I’m supposed to say I need training in Common Core (even though I know that the whole thing is a giant sham) just so my need for training can get sent to the board?” wrote one UTLA chapter chair. “I don’t want training and don’t need training. Nor do I need a whole new level of administrators. What I need are smaller classes and more money. I don’t see how filling this thing out can possibly help anything.”
“This seems like just one more of Fletcher’s tired responses,” wrote another commenter, referring to union President Warren Fletcher. “Does anyone believe that (Superintendent John) Deasy or the board care in the least about a survey. Really? This is the best Fletcher can come up with?”
One commenter defended the poll, saying: “A survey gives members of the Board political coverage to vote against the Superintendent.”
The 10-question survey went online at 2 p.m. Thursday, according to a union spokesperson. The deadline for completion is noon Monday, with the school board scheduled to vote on the Common Core budget at its meeting on Tuesday. The survey tells members, “The Board of Education needs to know what you think about Common Core and what resources you need.”
The teachers union has increasingly used online surveys to put pressure on the school board — and to generate negative media coverage for Deasy. One recent survey evaluated Deasy himself, giving him a poor performance review even as scarcely more than a quater of the membership responded to the survey. Another survey criticized the district’s Breakfast in the Classroom program.
* Correction: A previous version of this post suggested that all those writing on PEAC’s message board were members of PEAC. There is no requirement to be a member of PEAC to write on the message board.
Previous posts: UTLA Factions Lining Up to Oust Fletcher as President; ‘Political Season’ Starting with UTLA Leadership Conference; Teachers Vote Against Deasy, For More Teachers; Classroom Breakfast Expanding Despite Some Complaints