Today, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) announced a Tentative Agreement with the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) on how to improve our certificated evaluation system and process; how to appropriately use evidence of student progress and achievement; and how to fully comply with the Stull Act as recently litigated in Doe v. Deasy.
We’ve reached a historic agreement with UTLA that will improve the way we undertake certificated evaluations and honors their core purpose: to improve the practices of teaching and to assure accountability in meeting standards of the teaching profession.
The recent lawsuit Doe v. Deasy claims the District has not followed the law as outlined in the Stull Act, specifically by not using measures of student progress in certificated evaluations. Today’s agreement fully complies with the Stull Act, and significantly advances the work and process of teacher evaluation. This agreement stands as testament that working together, LAUSD and UTLA can resolve difficult professional issues, while providing models for the state and the nation on any number of necessary transformative practices.
This agreement strikes a balance that is much needed in the country right now in terms of using student measures of academic progress as both a vehicle to improve instruction, and to hold us accountable for the achievement of students in our schools.
This agreement also, very appropriately so, acknowledges individual and collective responsibility in our schools for the improvement of student learning. The District will immediately begin using individual state assessment data, Academic Growth Over Time data, and a number of additional key indicators of pupil and school progress, including attendance rates, suspension rates, reclassification rates for language learners, A-G course enrollment and passage rates, graduation and dropout rates, Advanced Placement course enrollment and passage rates, California High School Exit Exam passage rates, and Academic Performance Index scores, as additional measures when constructing certificated employee evaluation judgments.
Importantly, the most vital and predominant body of evidence will be a robust classroom observation process. The evidence of the quality of instruction, planning for instruction and classroom practices, are the most significant factors in student learning, and thus, determining an individual’s performance rating. Going forward, we will now incorporate individual CST and school wide AGT scores for our teachers, as well as the other indicators, as described above in a process, where these are to be considered and used as important but limited factors in an overall performance evaluation. Measures of student achievement are not the primary or controlling factor, but they are significant, and beginning immediately, will be incorporated.
We also continue to build upon the success of last year’s transformative agreement on Local Initiative Schools and autonomy by constructing an Evaluation Oversight and Mediation Committee that will monitor the implementation of this agreement, develop and review training programs and assist at resolving disputes at school levels.
Our number one responsibility is the safety and achievement of our students. This agreement, in the end, is designed to help how our teachers and other certificated staff meet the needs of our students so they can graduate college and career ready.
Dr. John E. Deasy