As the California Supreme Court considers whether to take up an appeal of an appellate court ruling in Vergara v. California, which has been extended to Aug. 22, the advocacy group that brought the landmark case will be in a Northern California courtroom Friday for a hearing on a case involving teacher evaluations.
Last year Students Matter filed a lawsuit, Doe v. Antioch, against 13 California school districts, saying collective bargaining agreements in those districts violated the Stull Act by explicitly prohibiting the use of student standardized test scores in assessing teacher performance. LA Unified is not a party of the lawsuit.
The Stull Act, passed by the state Legislature in 1971, requires student progress to be included as part of evaluations of teacher job performance.
A similar lawsuit, Doe v. Deasy, was filed against LA Unified in 2011 by EdVoice. Superior Court Judge James Chalfant agreed with the plaintiffs and ordered LA Unified to renegotiate contracts with its teachers union, United Teachers Los Angeles, to develop new evaluations based in part on student progress.
After former Superintendent John Deasy opted to make student achievement account for 30 percent of teacher evaluations, UTLA filed an unfair labor practices complaint in 2013 against the district with the Public Employment Relations Board, or PERB. The union and the district had agreed to include student test scores as part of evaluations, but did not agree on a specific numeric requirement, union officials said at the time.
Attorney Joshua Lipshutz, of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, who is representing Students Matter said he will ask a Contra Costa County Superior Court judge on Friday to grant a writ of mandate, essentially a court order requiring the school districts to comply with the law.
Lipshutz said after the judgment was made in the lawsuit against LA Unified, he hoped other school districts would comply with the ruling on their own even though they weren’t required to. The districts didn’t, he said.
“The same system ruled to be illegal in Doe v. Deasy is the same thing that’s in place in all of these other districts,” he said.