Former School Board candidate John Fernandez is among a handful of voices urging to teachers to vote against the tentative agreement struck between UTLA and LAUSD regarding teacher evaluations earlier this year.
“The big problem is the district and the union have not figured out how much weight they will count for,” said Fernandez, who is also a former member of UTLA’s Board of Directors and House of Representatives. ”This is a big problem. You have the teachers voting for an agreement that’s still not complete.”
Fernandez is not alone. From the other end of the ideological spectrum, school reform advocates including former Washington DC public schools superintendent Michelle Rhee have questioned whether the tentative deal is strong enough.
The tentative agreement calls for evaluation of teachers on a number of metrics, including graduation rate, attendance, scores on the California Standardized Tests (CST), and school-wide Academic Growth Over Time (AGT).
Some observers have noted that UTLA seems to have reversed itself on the issue of using raw student achievement scores in agreeing to the tentative deal.
Accountability-oriented reformers such as Michelle Rhee have pointed out weaknesses in the tentative agreement and called for state legislation to set an even more rigorous standard.
A recent LA Times story called the tentative deal a decisive win for the union because it doesn’t require a certain use of value-added measures that have been agreed to in other districts.
But the fact that the specific weighting of each metric will be left up to Superintendent John Deasy is the main reason why Fernandez sees the agreement as incomplete.
UTLA President Warren Fletcher has endorsed the deal, and it’s been approved by the UTLA House of Representatives, but classroom teachers have to ratify it next month before it can go into effect.
On its website, UTLA has posted arguments for and against the agreement.
Fernandez noted that the “pro” statement was signed by UTLA officers and Board of Directors, while the “con” statement was signed by area chairs.
“The area reps have access to the rank and file,” said Fernandez. “There’s a good possibility that this thing could go down.”