Wednesday, November 30, 2011


LAUSD Superintendent and UTLA President Jointly Announce Historic Tentative Agreement

Tentative agreement will eliminate giveaways of schools in favor of flexibility and supports that meet each school’s individual needs.

from LAUSD:

News Release | #11/12-073

November 29, 2011 - Los Angeles—Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Superintendent John Deasy and Warren Fletcher, president of United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA), today announced an unprecedented tentative agreement between the two sides.

Termed by Deasy “the Local School Stabilization and Empowerment Initiative,” the three-year pact, the result of “groundbreaking work” by both the District and the teachers’ union, creates greater freedoms for teachers, principals and parents at each school site to set policy and direction for their particular school.

The tentative agreement includes provisions giving schools the right to reject principals and teachers sent to them on a “must-place” basis by the District; allows individual schools to waive aspects of the collective bargaining agreement and specific District policies; and requires all employees to sign a commitment to work agreement prior to employment at the school.

“Teachers and parents are uniquely qualified to have a relationship with their school,” Deasy declared during a joint announcement with Fletcher at today’s board of education meeting. “Promising beginnings are a good thing,” added Fletcher.

Specifically, the tentative agreement is based on the following beliefs:  That teaching professionals and parents at each school are usually in the best position to assess and address many of the varying needs and challenges facing their students. The parties’ commitment to continued improvement in student learning, achievement and quality of instruction in all District schools. The program makes available an array of subjects for local school empowerment, as it provides for increased decision-making authority and empowerment of the local school’s faculty, principal and parents to determine various aspects of the school’s educational program and policies. These Local Initiative Schools will be granted automatic waivers from different central-District controls and from various parts of the LAUSD-UTLA Agreement. Over the next three and one half years, all schools will have the opportunity to be included in waivers, autonomies, and flexibilities provided in the agreement, including the Pilot and Expanded School Based Management Model (ESBMM) programs.

Calling it “an exciting, but incredibly daunting challenge,” Deasy said the agreement “could only have grown through the robust dialogue that occurred at the negotiating table.”

“The agreement we are bringing forward is about stabilization,” noted Fletcher, “it’s about creating space for schools, faculties, families and students to be able to have a safe zone to improve themselves with supports.”

“I’m very, very hopeful,” he added.

“Today the children of the LAUSD are witnessing the result of collaborative leadership,” said Board President Mónica García. “This tentative agreement with UTLA has the potential to transform this District by embracing local leadership autonomies and accountabilities in every school. We know that change is possible where teachers, parents and communities have been empowered to determine their school’s educational programs and policies, as seen at the Los Angeles High School for the Arts at RFK, Academic Leadership Community at Contreras and UCLA Community School. This agreement is bold, optimistic and aggressive, and the children, families and teachers of LAUSD deserve nothing less.”

Added Board Vice President Dr. Richard Vladovic, "I am very pleased and proud that everybody acted professionally, took it seriously and all wanted to do what's right for kids and our school community."

Board Member Steve Zimmer said the agreement represents “an historic day for the children of Los Angeles.”

“This agreement assures that no one, no central district, or centralized union, will never again stand in the way of those who know their schools, our students, and their families the best,” he added.

“This MOU, if ratified by the teachers in our district, will make systemic reforms to the benefit of every LAUSD school,” said Board Member Tamar Galatzan. “Our schools have been seeking this freedom for years, and finally the District and UTLA have responded. Every student stands to gain from this historic agreement.”

“Usually in negotiations, both sides feel as if they have lost something, in this instance both have won, as have our students and their parents,” added LAUSD Board Member Bennett Kayser. “I served as a LAUSD teacher for 14 years and I am a parent of two LAUSD graduates. Now, as a LAUSD board member, I am honored to divest some of the power held centrally to those closest to the classroom, the parents, administrators and teachers. I expect this agreement will continue to accelerate the positive trajectory LAUSD academics are on.”

UTLA has set December 12 as the date for ratification.


from UTLA:

November 29, 2011- In an agreement that recognizes that to be successful, school change must come collaboratively from school stakeholders rather than top-down mandates, United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) today reached an agreement with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) to allow teachers, parents, and communities to drive decisions at their local schools based on what is best for their school community.

The innovative support agreement grew out of negotiations on Public School Choice (PSC) mandated by the LAUSD school board in August 2011, when the school board approved giving priority to in-District teams writing plans for new PSC schools. UTLA’s priority was to prevent more destabilizing school giveaways to outside operators, to provide support for struggling schools and to expand the opportunities for true local control and school-driven reform.

The agreement provides:

  • Stability to schools by imposing a 3-year moratorium on giveaways of either new or existing schools to outside charter school operators. The focus is on support rather than punitive measures including binding limits on reconstitution.
  • Ongoing support for high-needs schools via LAUSD, UTLA and AALA intervention teams to service schools with professional development and other school-based assistance provided by displaced teachers, National Board Certificated teachers, and universities. The package for schools includes supports such as training in sharing of best practices, improving English Language learner reclassification rates, analysis of student work, and professional development that focuses on differentiated instruction.
  • Local control and school site decision-making options instead of top-down mandates to allow schools to waive selected Board policies and District / UTLA contract provisions.
  • Multiple options for schools to choose any “local control” District Governance model – Pilot, Expanded School Based Management Model (ESBMM), or the newly created Local Initiative School model - that works best for their school.

Twenty-two selected high-needs schools are initially eligible under the agreement. All other schools will be phased in.

“Schools have functioned too long in an environment where decisions are made by others about what is best for them, rather than by those who are at the school site and familiar with their school’s needs,” said UTLA President Warren Fletcher. “Local school-site control has been more successful than management by outside operators.”
The agreement must be approved by both UTLA members and the LAUSD school board. The UTLA member vote will take place in December.
Contact Marla Eby, Director of Communications at 213-368-6247 for additional details.

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