By Tami Abdollah
(From Southern California Public Radio, July 25, 2012)
L.A. Unified must comply with a judge’s ruling to include student test scores in teacher evaluations by Dec. 4, a bevy of attorneys representing the district, its unions, and parents agreed in court today.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfant made his ruling in Doe vs. Deasy last month and asked the attorneys to agree on a compliance timeline. After multiple meetings and disagreements, Chalfant sent the attorneys into the hallway this afternoon to come to an agreement, or face him imposing one unilaterally.
L.A. Unified attorney Barry Green said the district and its unions agreed on a staggered timeline that included a check-in on progress Sept. 4 and a final “drop dead date where everything has to be in place” by Dec. 4.
“We can’t just wave our wand and just implement, because we have the unions” to negotiate with, Green said in court today. “We have a gun to us that says we must do that.”
Green said the district built into the proposed timeline the fact that parties may reach an impasse and would then need to go through a mediation and fact-finding process under the state’s Public Employment Relations Board. “If it were up to us, it would be in place already,” Green told Chalfant.
The suit was filed in November by the Sacramento-based nonprofit EdVoice on behalf of seven unnamed parents. The core of the brief centers on the 41-year-old “Stull Act,” which requires school districts to “evaluate and assess certificated employee performance as it reasonably relates to the progress of pupils” on district standards of expected achievement in each subject area at each grade level. The act was broadened in 1999 to require evaluation based on student progress on state standardized tests.
In his ruling, Chalfant left 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.