Thursday, January 22, 2015

LA Times Report on Teacher Evaluations Incorrect

Yesterday, The LA Times reported that, “Major California school districts are failing to comply with a state law that requires them to evaluate teachers in part by how much their students have learned.” This claim is completely incorrect. In fact, California is one of the few states where most districts do NOT tie test scores to Teacher Evaluation.
California Ed Code states:
44660. It is the intent of the Legislature that governing boards
establish a uniform system of evaluation and assessment of the
performance of all certificated personnel within each school
district of the state, including schools conducted or maintained
by county superintendents of education. The system shall involve the development and adoption by each school district of objective evaluation and assessment guidelines which may, at the discretion of the governing board, be uniform throughout the district or, for compelling reasons, be individually developed for territories or schools within the district, provided that all certificated personnel of the district shall be subject to a system of evaluation and assessment adopted pursuant to this article.
(emphasis my own)

This article does not apply to certificated personnel who are
employed on an hourly basis in adult education classes.
This simply states that each school district can come up with their own, objective evaluation system for teachers. Perhaps later in the Ed Code it mentions test scores? Nope.
44661.5. …a school district
may, by mutual agreement between the exclusive representative of the
certificated employees of the school district and the governing board
of the school district, include any objective standards from the
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards or any objective
standards from the California Standards for the Teaching Profession
if the standards to be included are consistent with this article….
So, districts can use standards from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards or from the California Standards for Teaching Profession. No mention of test scores…hmmmm…
Here, Ed Code states:
44662. (a) The governing board of each school district shall
establish standards of expected pupil achievement at each grade level
in each area of study.
(b) The governing board of each school district shall evaluate and
assess certificated employee performance as it reasonably relates
(1) The progress of pupils toward the standards established
pursuant to subdivision (a) and, if applicable, the state adopted
academic content standards as measured by state adopted criterion
referenced assessments.
(2) The instructional techniques and strategies used by the
(3) The employee’s adherence to curricular objectives.
(4) The establishment and maintenance of a suitable learning
environment, within the scope of the employee’s responsibilities.
So, there are expectations of achievement for students at each grade level, and the progress of students toward the expectations can be used in evaluation. Where does it say TEST SCORE? It doesn’t. In fact, I would argue that it is AGAINST California Ed Code to tie student test scores to teacher evaluation:
(e) The evaluation and assessment of certificated employee
performance pursuant to this section shall not include the use of
publishers’ norms established by standardized tests.

Should we look at that again?
(e) The evaluation and assessment of certificated employee
performance pursuant to this section shall not include the use of
publishers’ norms established by standardized tests.
Now let’s look at the organization who conducted this “Study”. Who is EdVoice, really? I discovered that they do, indeed, have ties to other education deformers. I found this from Diane Ravitch from 2012:
EdVoice was founded in 2001 by Reed Hastings (CEO of Netflix, Microsoft board member, Green Dot founding funder) and John Doerr (venture capitalist, investment banker), along with and former CA state Assembly members Ted Lempert and Steve Poizner. Eli Broad and Don Fisher (deceased CEO of The Gap and major KIPP supporter) once served on EdVoice’s board.
They also have ties to Aspire which in turn has ties to Gates. You can read more about their ties in Ravitch’s blog:

Also interesting that EdVoice tried a few years ago to sue LA Unified and say that they were breaking the law by not attaching test scores to teacher evaluation. The ruling on that lawsuit basically said what the Ed Code already says, that LA Unified must include student progress as a measure in teacher evaluation. The ruling went on to say, “the details of how the district must comply with the ‘pupil progress requirement’ primarily to its discretion. He said details such as the system of measurement, how that plays into a teacher’s evaluation and how much it is weighted, may all require collective bargaining.”
So. The judge ruled with the ed code. Now they are bringing this up again? It is quite obvious that groups such as EdVoice only want to destroy public education and make money from the charter schools they would then open.
The attacks on public education need to stop. Our children are not products that can make people money. They are our future. We need to treat them as such.

Heather Poland
Originally posted on A Teacher's Perspective


  1. Very well said, Heather. The L.A. Times seems not to want to let facts get in the way of their mission to provide public relations for the privateers.

  2. I don't know how I missed this. I was so tied into the dismissal and discipline articles, it never occurred to me that the tests are not considered in evaluation. Here is the thing: UTLA /LAUSD JUST agreed to make 30% of the evaluations about the tests. Alex Caputo Pearl, the union's president has embraced the arrangement as a way way to remove " ineffective teachers" . Mike, I been telling you guys this man is a ringer who is as lawless as Deasy. Mark, you rock the casbah!!!! 😍


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