On a 5-2 party line vote, with two Republicans opposed, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted Thursday to send AB 5, the bill rewriting the teacher evaluation law, to the full Senate for a vote next week.

The bill passed despite uncertainty over state funding for a more extensive and involved evaluation system than is currently required. AB 5’s author, Democratic Assemblymember Felipe Fuentes, was able to secure $60 million in one-time money to enable districts with low-performing schools to establish the new system. But the bill would leave it to the Legislature to figure out how to cover ongoing costs after the bill goes into effect on July 1, 2014. Gov. Jerry Brown hasn’t signaled whether he’s OK with adding at least $20 million in annual new education costs – the Department of Finance’s latest estimate of implementing the system.

The California Teachers Association hasn’t yet taken an official stand on the bill, but Fuentes couldn’t have come up with $60 million in funding without CTA’s say-so. The money will be diverted from the Quality Education Investment Act, a $2.7 billion program established through a lawsuit settlement struck between CTA and Gov. Schwarzenegger to fund smaller classes and teacher training at about a third of the state’s lowest-performing schools. CTA has zealously guarded encroachments on that money.

CTA has said it supports a fair, comprehensive evaluation system based on professional teaching standards, which is what AB 5 provides. But CTA also said there must be funding to ensure that principals are uniformly trained in classroom observations using objective criteria. So in agreeing to use $60 million of QEIA money to train evaluators in districts with low-performing schools, CTA is walking the talk.

But the bill also hands the union a victory on two contentious issues, which is why Los Angeles Unified Superintendent John Deasy joined nonprofit advocacy groups EdVoice, Education Trust-West, Children Now, and StudentsFirst in opposing AB 5.

“This current bill, if passed, would really weaken the progress we’re making. It will end a great deal of it,”Deasy told the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday.

The district has instituted a voluntary evaluation system that includes student growth on state standardized test scores as one factor in measuring a teacher’s effectiveness. United Teachers Los Angeles unalterably opposes using the California Standards Tests in an evaluation.

In June, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ruled that the current evaluation law, the Stull Act, does require using students’ test results and ordered the district and union to devise a plan to incorporate the data. AB 5 would undo that decision, if not for LAUSD now, then starting in July 2014, by allowing but not explicitly requiring that test data be included in the mix of evaluation criteria.

The bill also would subject all aspects of an evaluation system to collective bargaining. Los Angeles Unified has adopted the position, which is ambiguous under the Stull Act, that districts have the authority to design evaluation systems without union approval.

 

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  1. John Fensterwald 7 years ago7 years ago

    Manuel: Seems pretty clear to me that both of the sections you refer to will be repealed if AB 5 passes.

    Replies

    • Manuel 7 years ago7 years ago

      As I read AB 5 (obtained from http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=ab_5&sess=CUR), the bill says that "Section 44662 of the Education Code is amended to read:" and the text I have pasted above follows. Maybe I don't know how to read legislation, but if the sections cited are included, I don't see how this constitutes a "repeal." What am I missing? Can you please elaborate on that so I can learn something new? Read More

      As I read AB 5 (obtained from http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=ab_5&sess=CUR), the bill says that “Section 44662 of the Education Code is amended to read:” and the text I have pasted above follows.

      Maybe I don’t know how to read legislation, but if the sections cited are included, I don’t see how this constitutes a “repeal.”

      What am I missing? Can you please elaborate on that so I can learn something new?

      • Manuel 7 years ago7 years ago

        Well, I found the reason why it is very clear to you, but not to me. The old sections are indeed included in the bill. But I failed to notice that a new paragraph was tacked at the end: "(g) This section shall become inoperative on July 1 of the first fiscal year following the fiscal year in which the deficit factor set forth in Section 42238.146 is reduced to zero." (This is from the version dated 06/22/2011. … Read More

        Well, I found the reason why it is very clear to you, but not to me.

        The old sections are indeed included in the bill. But I failed to notice that a new paragraph was tacked at the end:

        “(g) This section shall become inoperative on July 1 of the first fiscal year following the fiscal year in which the deficit factor set forth in Section 42238.146 is reduced to zero.”

        (This is from the version dated 06/22/2011. According to the document made available in your most recent post, it has since been changed to “(g) This section shall become inoperative on July 1, 2014, and, as of January 1, 2015, is repealed, unless a later enacted statute,
        that becomes operative on or before January 1, 2015, deletes or extends the dates on which it becomes inoperative and is repealed.”)

        while the new added section becomes operative on July 1, 2014 (and that is still the case in the new version).

        I see that I have been fooled by the old “sausage-making” process where something is given by the right hand and taken away by the left. You, on the other hand, are an old pro at this.

  2. Manuel 7 years ago7 years ago

    The Stull Act is Sections 44660-44665 of the Ed. Code. Two sections currently mention the use of the tests in teacher evaluations: "44662(b) The governing board of each school district shall evaluate and assess certificated employee performance as it reasonably relates to: (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." and "44662(e) The evaluation and assessment of certificated employee performance pursuant to this … Read More

    The Stull Act is Sections 44660-44665 of the Ed. Code.

    Two sections currently mention the use of the tests in teacher evaluations:

    “44662(b) The governing board of each school district shall evaluate and
    assess certificated employee performance as it reasonably relates
    to: (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.”

    and

    “44662(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.”

    Both of these are kept intact by AB 5. Presumably, Judge Chalfant’s decision is based on 44662(b)(1) (which appears to be the amendment that Villaraigosa introduced in 1999 after passage of the Public School Accountability Act, the gift that keeps on giving) because 44662(e) negates the use of the ETS-suggested norms.

    If AB 5 passes the Senate and is signed by Governor Brown, I don’t see how it “guts objective accountability of adult job performance in schools” as the full-page ad in today’s LA Times paid for the pseudo-reformers claims. (It’s on p. A9 and you can get it on-line if you are a subscriber.)

    If they had simply said they were opposed to the new-and-improved Section 44661(b) then I would at least say they are honest. They are not. And here is the text of that section:

    “44661(b) The best practices teacher evaluation system required to be
    adopted pursuant to this article shall be locally negotiated pursuant
    to Chapter 10.7 (commencing with Section 3540) of Division 4 of
    Title 1 of the Government Code. If the certificated employees of
    the school district do not have an exclusive bargaining
    representative, the governing board of the school district shall
    adopt objective evaluation and support components, as applicable,
    that are consistent with this article.”

    This does not say that state tests or any other instrument cannot be used. All it says is that their inclusion in evaluations has to be negotiated. As it stands and based on the data alone, the CSTs are not criterion-referenced tests. Moreover, even if the CSTs were not norm-referenced tests, students currently have no incentive to response to the best of their abilities on the tests and, therefore, there is no guarantee that their responses are indicative of their true academic achievements.

    Bottom line: AB 5 makes teacher evaluation, as Navigio states, a locally negotiated issue. It also introduces the concept that “best practices” must have validity and not just the flavor-of-the-month that, for example, VAM has at the moment.

  3. Bea 7 years ago7 years ago

    The Ed Voice email I received this morning mentions the unfunded mandates. But at this point, ANY evaluation system in California would be unfunded. The reformers opposing this bill are hiding their position on local control. They are uniform in opposing collective bargaining and they are also shadow forces working to eliminate local elected school boards. If I read the bill correctly (and StudentsFirst opinion against) the bill allows for teachers to question each element of their … Read More

    The Ed Voice email I received this morning mentions the unfunded mandates. But at this point, ANY evaluation system in California would be unfunded.

    The reformers opposing this bill are hiding their position on local control. They are uniform in opposing collective bargaining and they are also shadow forces working to eliminate local elected school boards.

    If I read the bill correctly (and StudentsFirst opinion against) the bill allows for teachers to question each element of their evaluation individually. The reformers oppose giving teachers that right.

  4. CapitolReader 7 years ago7 years ago

    Navigio – The bill was introduced a couple of years ago but the gutting of the Stull Act came this week. There was clear intention — they know what they are doing.

    Replies

    • navigio 7 years ago7 years ago

      Hi Cap. Here is a quote from the analysis of the bill in march of 2011:

      “8)Deletes the article known as the Stull Act on July 1, 2012,
      and repeals the article on January 1, 2013.”

  5. Navigio 7 years ago7 years ago

    People should read the bill. My take is that it's primary impact is to make evaluation systems locally negotiated. This should allow districts to make their own choices on the metrics to use. (I dont buy Deasy's argument that it precludes what they are doing. Ironically LAUSD wasn't complying with the Stull act anyway so it's not like the situation is any different even if it did do that). The other side effect is that it actually … Read More

    People should read the bill.

    My take is that it’s primary impact is to make evaluation systems locally negotiated. This should allow districts to make their own choices on the metrics to use. (I dont buy Deasy’s argument that it precludes what they are doing. Ironically LAUSD wasn’t complying with the Stull act anyway so it’s not like the situation is any different even if it did do that).

    The other side effect is that it actually pays for the evaluation system. Previously districts were given some funds as part of a block grant. But it appears to have been less than was required and even then was it flexible. Now these funds are dedicated to evaluation, or so it seems.

    While its true it ‘negates’ the test requirement of the Stull act, and thus the recent ruling, the bill was originally written a couple years ago so I don’t know that reversing that ruling could have been conscious decision.

  6. Paul Muench 7 years ago7 years ago

    The wording of the bill applies to all districts, but I guess only those districts that get state money have to take action if the bill becomes law. How far does $60 million go for this purpose? So what really affects all districts is removing the mandate to use test scores on evaluations. True? I really don't have a problem with the content of this bill, but I'd love to see … Read More

    The wording of the bill applies to all districts, but I guess only those districts that get state money have to take action if the bill becomes law. How far does $60 million go for this purpose? So what really affects all districts is removing the mandate to use test scores on evaluations. True? I really don’t have a problem with the content of this bill, but I’d love to see the Senate reject it or the Governer veto it to help restore trust in government. How this bill is being talked about and what it actually does is just not straight-talking.

    Replies

    • John Fensterwald 7 years ago7 years ago

      Paul: AB 5 will replace the Stull Act on July 1, 2014, at which point it will be the new mandate for all districts. The $60 million is for those districts with lowest performing schools (about 270, I am told) to develop their evaluations and train evaluators during 2013-14 year. All districts will be responsible for conducting the evaluations and training principals; they can seek reimbursement as a state mandate. Whether there will be enough … Read More

      Paul: AB 5 will replace the Stull Act on July 1, 2014, at which point it will be the new mandate for all districts. The $60 million is for those districts with lowest performing schools (about 270, I am told) to develop their evaluations and train evaluators during 2013-14 year. All districts will be responsible for conducting the evaluations and training principals; they can seek reimbursement as a state mandate. Whether there will be enough money to cover the mandated expenses in the block grant that the Legislature will appropriate in 2014-15 is the unanswered question. My guess: far from it.