Deasy’s 30 Percent Teacher Evaluation Victory: UTLA’s Capitulation and its Consequences By John Fernandez Coward: A man in whom

the instinct of self-preservation acts normally.—Sultana Zoraya On January 19, 2013, teachers in the LAUSD approved a comprehensive evaluation system that will include student school wide test data and a host of other measurements, such as attendance rates, suspension rates, English Language Learner (ELL) progress and reclassification rates, and Graduation/Drop-out rates to determine their effectiveness in the classroom. The total vote was 16,892, of which 11,185 (66 percent) voted “yes”, while 5,707 (34 percent) voted “no”. Only about 50 percent of teachers eligible to vote did so. On February 12, 2013, the Los Angeles Board of Education ratified the 7-page LAUSD-UTLA Evaluation Procedures Supplement (Tentative Agreement). It will go into effect for the 2013/14 school year. Teachers voted to approve the 7-page LAUSD-UTLA Evaluation Procedures Supplement (Tentative Agreement) in light of the fact that: (1) the TA was incomplete, limiting, and lacked specifics on its implementation; (2) the District and UTLA had not figured out how much weight the mass of individual and school wide test would have on a teacher’s evaluation—would it count for 30%, 40%, or 50% of a teachers final evaluation?; (3) if teachers approved the TA in its present form, they would be putting themselves at risk because they would be unaware of changes that would be forthcoming, which could be detrimental to them. As a result, they could receive a bad evaluation and be subject to dismissal; and (4), if teachers approved the TA, they would not have another opportunity to vote again on any changes to the TA. Teachers were deceived and misled by UTLA leadership into believing that if they voted “no” on the TA, the judge overseeing the case of Doe v Deasy could unilaterally impose his own criteria for teacher evaluation. Actually, the District had met the court order to use test scores in teacher evaluations (see December 4, 2012 Los Angeles Times article: “LA Unified says deal on evaluations meets court order”). UTLA President Warren Fletcher also argued that teachers should vote in favor of the TA because there was no numerical percentage from individual students and schoolwide test data based on student’s CST scores or Academic Growth Over time (AGT) and that no CST scores or Academic Growth Over time (AGT) measure could be used for a teacher’s final evaluation. In a memo, dated February 15, 20013, to principals and other administrators in charge of evaluating teachers, Supt. Deasy directed them to use a weight of 30% on teacher evaluations: “In the District’s guidelines to principals, the assessment of student progress and other student data-driven results will carry a weight limited to 30% (i.e. not

to exceed) of the total evaluation determination.” The February 15, memo also went on to state that: “In our next update, we will provide information about the other multiple measure components of EGDC, including parent and student surveys, observation of classroom practice, and contributions to school and community.” What was UTLA’s response to Supt. Deasy’s February 15, 2013 directive? Did UTLA file an unfair labor charge with PERB against the District for violating the terms of the TA? Did UTLA go to court to stop the 30% factor for teacher evaluations? Did UTLA file a grievance of behalf of its members or a group grievance against the District and seek the removal of the 30% factor in teacher evaluations? If UTLA files a grievance against the District will it go all the way to arbitration to have Deasy’s 30% factor removed for all teachers, if UTLA prevails? The answer is NO to all of these questions because UTLA is afraid it will lose with PERB, in court, or in arbitration. Ignoring these remedies will not take away the 30% evaluation factor from any teacher evaluation, even though UTLA’s position is that “under the recently ratified Evaluation Agreement, any preset percentage level, no matter how high or low, is prohibited” (see the Teacher Evaluation Rights Toolkit on UTLA’s website at www.UTLA.net). UTLA’s response and solution to Deasy’s 30% percentage administrative directive is a 7-page “Teacher Evaluation Rights Toolkit” that is convoluted, unrealistic, limited, and puts the main responsibility for fighting the Deasy’s 30% evaluation factor on UTLA Chapter Chairs and teachers. UTLA Chapter Chairs and teachers are being told to read and follow its guidelines. UTLA Chapter Chairs and teachers are being asked by UTLA to read a combined total of 14 pages to understand and implement the 7-page LAUSDUTLA Evaluation Procedures Supplement and UTLA’s 7-page Teacher Evaluation Rights Toolkit. As a former UTLA Chapter Chair and lead teacher at Roosevelt High School, that is not going to happen. The “Toolkit” consists of a faculty letter to the principal to show solidarity and holding them to the terms of the TA. An individual teacher letter is also required by UTLA to be sent to their principal and to their ESC Instructional Director if their initial planning sheets have been revised by their principal. The Teacher Evaluation Rights Toolkit is a poor substitute for challenging Deasy’s 30% evaluation factor since the 30% evaluation factor will represent 30% of the total evaluation process—the Toolkit mainly addresses specific objectives found in planning sheets. The Toolkit information can invalidate Stulls based on standard teacher violations such as timeliness, improper changes to objectives and the misuse of data reports. However, the 30% factor is here to stay as part of the overall teacher evaluation. This latest TA again demonstrates UTLA’s lack of resolve: UTLA President Warren Fletcher and his fellow officers are weak, indecisive, and cowardly.

Dr. John Fernandez is a retired member of UTLA. He taught 24-years at Roosevelt High School and was a lead teacher and UTLA Chapter Chair there. Dr. Fernandez served on the UTLA House of Reps and UTLA Board of Directors. He can be reached at drjrock67@att.net.