Under union pressure, Los Angeles Unified has gutted teacher evaluation, writes Thomas Toch, founding director of the Center on the Future of American Education at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy, in Education Post. That will hurt students — and teachers — he argues.
The nation’s teacher unions used their lobbying muscle to make sure the new Every Student Succeeds Act ended the Obama administration’s pressure on states and school districts to evaluate teachers more meaningfully. And now, with the federal government no longer blocking their path, the unions are moving to weaken state and local evaluation reforms introduced in the Obama era, as is the case in Los Angeles.
The new agreement in LA diminishes the role of student progress in evaluating teachers’ effectiveness, writes Toch. The pact eliminates the “highly effective” category which will make it “more difficult to use evaluations to establish master teacher positions, career ladders, or performance-based pay.”
Experienced teachers will face evaluation as little as once every five years and formal classroom observations will be limited.
“The new pact also slims from 15 to seven the number of performance objectives each teacher must meet and allows teachers to file grievances if they’re placed in the lowest overall evaluation category,” reports Education Week.
“The Los Angeles Times played into the union’s hands when it published individual teachers’ student testing results in 2010 and 2011,” writes Toch. Scores alone, without information from classroom observations and other measures, aren’t very dependable. The Times created a backlash that’s weakened the city’s teacher evaluation system. It will be “more difficult to know who’s doing a good job, who isn’t, and why.”
If Hillary Clinton is elected president, “educators will have a partner in the White House” and a “seat at the table,” she told the National Education Association convention. The NEA endorsed her over Bernie Sanders.