Some legal action in Los Angeles over evaluations (pdf).
Very interesting tactic. Definitely something to watch. My guess is that groups opposed to drastically revamping evaluation systems will try to limit the connection between the Stull Act and evaluation (i.e. the act does not apply to teachers only students). If successful, this could pave the way for more meaningful teacher evaluations in California.
In a word, AWESOME. Who said the public sector unions were the only ones who knew how to use the judicial system to make their voices heard. Wowza.
This is very interesting indeed. For many years while I was teaching in a suburb of Los Angeles, my formal evaluations were called Stull evaluations. For these evaluations all teachers wrote out their objectives for the children and the expectations for achievement for every single student. In the spring when I went into the principal’s office for my post-observation conference, I almost always brought boxes of student tests, compositions and other evidence of progress. I assumed the principal was aware of the progress of my students, as this was his or her job. It never even occurred to me until recently that teachers whose students did not learn anything were given “satisfactory” ratings. Was this supposed to be my fault? Or the union’s? I don’t think so. I have since found out that even new teachers are mostly given “satisfactory” ratings during their first two years of service, even though they are “at will” employees and can be dismissed for any reason. Does this mean they are all effective, or does it mean something else?
This lawsuit demonstrates that there has been a vehicle for teacher evaluation in California and probably in every other state. In addition to that, it shows that the people responsible for carrying out this evaluation are the administrators under the leadership of the board of education. If contracts were signed limiting the amount of evaluation of a teacher, it was signed by administration along with the teachers’ union.
During my long career, I had several excellent principals. These people were always aware of the progress of my students. However it required them to know each individual student because OBVIOUSLY a teacher cannot be evaluated on the basis of one test given to the whole class. Are we really that stupid?
Citizens are right to demand the evaluation of a teacher and any public worker. But teachers have a right to demand that the evaluation be done by other professionals who have the time and expertise to evaluate the progress of EACH child in the class. There is no shortcut and it isn’t cheap.
I am advising all teachers to keep careful records of the progress of each child in the class because if they (teachers) are judged “not effective” on the basis of one whole class test, they will have evidence to present to the judge when THEY file lawsuits.
Undoubtably, once the teachers are “evaluated” by student achievement, the racial and class gap will be closed for once and all.
While there could be something valuable about such an action I’m sad to conclude for now this is nothing but a bad-faith ploy to gain political attention and enrich lawyers.
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