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Morning Read: Court Rules Against LA Unified on Ratings

LA School Report | November 8, 2013

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L.A. Unified loses round in effort to keep teacher ratings secret
The Los Angeles Unified School District has lost a key round in a legal battle to keep the performance ratings of individual teachers confidential. The 2nd District Court of Appeal declined this week to consider the case after a lower court ordered the school system to turn over the information to the Los Angeles Times. The newspaper had sought the ratings through a public records request. The school system withheld the information, citing the privacy rights of employees. LA Times

How to grade a teacher
Editorial: As the recent job evaluation of Los Angeles Unified Supt. John Deasy showed, test scores and other metrics can be a useful addition to the assessment process — as long as they’re not allowed to substitute for the bigger, more meaningful picture. Progress should be measured. Data matter. But rigid adherence to them is counterproductive. LA Times

CA’s Board of Ed struggles with LCFF implementation
Enduring one of the longest public hearings in recent years, the California State Board of Education Thursday passed on until January a decision over regulatory options for governing the state’s new school funding formula. The marathon, six-hour debate drew nearly 200 speakers from across the state including parents, students, teachers, district superintendents, advocacy groups and even a state legislator. But in the end, the board appeared to be largely where they were at the beginning of the day – still struggling with how to provide operational governance over the landmark Local Control Funding Formula. SI&A Cabinet Report

Moving top teachers to struggling schools has benefits
The transfer of top elementary teachers to low-achieving schools can help boost students’ performance, but there’s a catch: getting them to agree to move. A new study, seven years in the making, finds that elementary teachers identified as effective who transferred to low-achieving schools under a bonus-pay program helped their new students learn more, on average, than teachers in a control group did with their students. They also stayed in the schools at least as long as other new hires. But despite a large financial reward, only 5 percent of eligible teachers made the shift, the report concludes. Education Week

Teacher pensions deficit grows $22 million a day
It’s still just a speck on the horizon, but getting closer by the second: the point at which California’s oldest pension fund — and the only real retirement security for more than 800,000 educators — will, without a major infusion of cash, be flat broke. And yet, there’s little sign of actual movement inside the halls of state government to take action. Talk, yes, but not yet action. KXTV Sacramento

How states present—and spin—NAEP scores for the public
The big news of Nov. 7 was the release of scores in reading and math for 4th and 8th graders on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as the “Nation’s Report Card”. In addition to the nation’s performance overall, the results were broken down for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. As some of my Education Week colleagues have pointed out, Tennessee and the District have been lauded by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and others for their particularly strong performance on the NAEP. But what about other states? How does states’ rhetoric about their students’ performance compare with their actual performance and their score gains (or lack thereof?) Education Week

California’s Mitchell tapped by Obama for DoE undersecretary job
A vacant position in the US Department of Education is set to be filled by a former California educator following weeks of speculations over who would get the job. Theodore Mitchell, known for his philanthropy, is set to be nominated as the successor to Martha Kanter who resigned as undersecretary in August. Mitchell has had a varied, impressive career at several colleges and university working in both teaching and administration. Education News

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