●● s m f n o t e s:
The lawsuit it not really called Ed Voice v. LAUSD – that would make too much sense. It is JANE DOE, et al, v. JOHN DEASY, et al. (The filing follows)
The Doe plaintiffs are “a half-dozen unnamed parents backed by Sacramento-based EdVoice”, “The parents say they filed as Does for fear of ‘intimidation and retaliation against themselves and their children’." The Deasy et al, defendants are Superintendent Deasy, the Board of Education, UTLA, AALA (the administrators' union), The California Public Employee Relations Board and ten Does to be named later. Hopefully Bambi’s mother is not among them.
This is a bizarre dance card. Or fight card.
Ed Voice is a stalking horse for Eli Broad, Bill Gates and the Billionaire Boys Club Forces of Reform® (including Deasy and the Bd of Ed majority ). Defendant Deasy is an miscast stand-in (or perhaps bellwether) for UTLA and CTA; with he, Mayor Tony and a 4 to 3 majority of the Board of Ed firmly aligned with the plaintiffs. With the District sympathetic to the Plaintiffs it remains to be seen how vigorously this suit will be defended. We have all heard of uncooperative and/or hostile witnesses – welcome to Hostile Defendants! Plus, The Bown Act
And, if as I suspect based on previous practice, the unnamed Plaintiff Does are actually charter school parents, their very standing as litigants is open to challenge - as most charters are outside the day-to-day purview and authority of the school district or the two unions.
Parents Say L.A. Schools Defy State Law
By MATT REYNOLDS | Courthouse News Service | http://bit.ly/v3dB7Y
LOS ANGELES (CN) - Five parents sued the Los Angeles Unified School District in Superior Court, claiming that for four decades it has refused to comply with a state law that it regularly evaluate teachers, "with data that reasonably measures, among other criteria, whether or not the students under an employee's charge are actually learning."
The plaintiffs - five mothers, a father and nine children, all filing as Does - claim that the district, "which annually fails hundreds of children," has violated the children's "fundamental right to basic educational equality and opportunity" by failing to comply with a section of the California Education Code known as the Stull Act.
"The children and their parents ask the court to enforce a reasonable and four decade old statutory state law that requires the district to evaluate certificated employees' on-the-job performance with data that reasonably measures, among other criteria, whether or not the students under an employee's charge are actually learning," the complaint states.
Named as defendants are Superintendent John Deasy, the seven members of the Board of Education, the Associated Administrators of Los Angeles (AALA), the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) and the California Public Employment Relations Board.
Scott Witlin, with Barnes & Thornburg, filed suit for the advocates. He told Courthouse News he was "concerned" because the district is "ignoring the group that's supposed to be the beneficiary of the school system, the children. They have a constitutional right to education. The school district doesn't exist for the adults."
The parents and kids say the district "never obeyed" the Stull Act's mandate to establish standards of pupil achievement and evaluate teachers according to their students' progress.
They claim that "groups of politically powerful adults," have obstructed the law since it was enacted in 1971.
According to the plaintiffs, the AALA and UTLA have "historically fought" teacher evaluations based on student progress and collectively bargained to prevent implementation of the law.
"Both the AALA and the UTLA have historically fought against certificated personnel evaluations being tied in any way to student learning," the complaint states. "The result is decades during which prior LAUSD superintendents and school boards have entered into unlawful collective bargaining contracts with these associations of adults that prevented compliance with the statutory mandate of evaluating certificated staff based even in part on available evidence of whether or not the children are learning.
"Indeed, the 2009-2011 collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and, on information and belief, the current one-year extension of the CBA between the AALA and the LAUSD does not allow for administrators to be evaluated as mandated by the Stull Act regarding the progress of pupils toward the standards established pursuant to Section 44662(a) and, if applicable, the state adopted academic content standards as measured by state adopted criterion-referenced assessments."
The parents say the superintendent has publicly revealed his hostility to performance reviews: "For example, the superintendent recently stated that, 'I would argue that nobody has told me that the current system of evaluation, which is performance review, helps anybody. It is fundamentally useless. It does not actually help you get better at [your] work and it doesn't tell you how well you're doing.'
"The superintendent went on to state, 'One would have to argue: "So ... there are schools where 3 percent of the students are proficient at math and 100 percent of the teachers are at the top rating performance." That doesn't make sense to me whatsoever. And it doesn't make sense because the rating performance does not actually help teachers get better.'" (Brackets and ellipsis in complaint.)
The parents say that poor teachers are disciplined under the current system only if "they fail to meet an illegal standard of satisfactory performance or are convicted of the commission of serious crimes leading to mandatory credential suspension or revocation."
The complaint continues: "As a result, the adults' collective employment and political interests are turning the children's opportunity to learn and their fundamental right to basic educational equality in the public schools on its head and instead the system is protecting the working conditions of the certificated personnel, as well as preserving the political power of the board and the superintendent. ... And worse for the disenfranchised and socio-economically disadvantaged children, these adults have created systematic harm to students by allowing contracts to produce a concentration of under-qualified and ineffective certificated staff in chronically failing schools.
"There can be no dispute that the nation's second largest school district is a broken school system that has failed millions of children over the past 40 years and limited the future potential of the children and community of Los Angeles in large part due to the failure of the adults who are responsible for governing, managing and evaluating the district's certificated personnel, by failing to establish a lawful standard for satisfactory performance of certificated adults, which necessarily must be based, at least in part, upon student progress. The very purpose of the district has been turned on its head by adults focused on employment conditions and political power instead of individual performance assessment and accountability measured at least in part on whether or not children are actually progressing toward standards of expected achievement. It is simply unacceptable under California Constitutional and statutory law to ignore the plight of students any longer.
"This petition seeks a writ of judicial mandate to compel the LAUSD immediately to comply with the clear mandate of the Stull Act and its strengthened statutory revisions, and further seeks a preliminary injunction to enjoin the district, its superintendent, members of the Board of Education, and the representatives of certificated personnel from using collective bargaining force to compel the district to continue to violate the Stull Act and from continuing to injure the children, their parents and guardians, the community of Los Angeles and the state of California. Forty years of deliberate and calculated noncompliance with such a key state requirement is enough."
The parents say they filed as Does for fear of "intimidation and retaliation against themselves and their children."
The Los Angeles Unified School District did not respond to a request for comment.
New life for old law on evaluations: L.A. Unified suit says problem is will to enforce
11/02/11 • The Stull Act, the 40-year-old teacher evaluation law that school reformers had dismissed as useless, may have a second wind.
In a suit with statewide implications (filing follows), parents backed by an advocacy group are suing Los Angeles Unified and its teachers union, claiming that state law requires that statewide standardized tests must be used in the evaluation of teachers. That law is the Stull Act.
The suit, filed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court by a half-dozen unnamed parents backed by Sacramento-based EdVoice, seeks an order requiring the district to immediately start using measures of student performance in evaluating teachers and administrators. “Forty years of deliberate and calculated non-compliance with such a key State requirement is enough,” it says.
Plaintiffs want an injunction preventing the district from negotiating a contract that delays applying the law universally. That would include a three-year pilot program for a new evaluation system that Superintendent John Deasy has been prodding United Teachers Los Angeles to accept. An initial hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled for Nov. 21.
Dozens of states have revised teacher evaluation laws over the past two years, and a similar effort is shaping up to be one of the more contentious and involved efforts of the Legislature in 2012. The primary bill in play is AB 5, authored by Assemblymember Felipe Fuentes, D-San Fernando, whose current draft scraps the Stull Act and starts from scratch.
The LAUSD suit implies that may not be necessary. The problem is not with the law, but the collective failure, by the state’s 1,000 plus districts, facing union opposition to using test scores in evaluations, to enforce it over four decades. A victory by the plaintiffs might embolden districts to be more assertive in negotiating new contracts.
Although the lawsuit names Deasy, the LAUSD school board, the district’s teachers and administrators unions, and the state Public Employment Relations Board as defendants, the suit could provide leverage for Deasy in his dealings with UTLA, which has challenged the district’s authority to make any changes in evaluations that aren’t negotiated.
Deasy’s pilot evaluation system, involving volunteer teachers, includes using valued-added standardized test scores as one component. They are supposed to measure a teacher’s impact on student learning; Deasy wants valued-added scores to count as much as 30 percent of an evaluation.
Matter of local control
Bill Lucia, CEO of EdVoice, says the intent of the lawsuit is not to prescribe any particular methodology for using test scores or weight in applying them. State test scores could complement other local assessments or be one component, along with with observations. That, consistent with the Stull Act, would be left for local districts to determine, he said.
The suit details the history of the Stull Act – and circumvention of it. As passed in 1971, the Stull Act required every school board to create standards of student achievement for each subject in every grade and also to evaluate teachers’ performances relative to students’ progress toward meeting locally determined standards. The State Board of Education fleshed it out with guidelines authorizing school boards to identify teachers who have weaknesses in performance, with ways to help them improve, and those who should be fired. In 1995, the suit says, the Legislature amended the law to explicitly permit dismissal for unsatisfactory performance. In 1999, the Legislature added the key component: including in evaluations student progress toward meeting state academic content standards as measured by state adopted criterion-referenced assessments, the California Standardized Tests.
But the suit says that unions stonewalled the new law, and, over decades, “in collusion” with superintendents and school trustees, “have made it impossible” to effectively evaluate teachers and to take corrective action based on evidence of a lack of student learning.
“As a result, the adults’ collective employment and political interests are turning the children’s opportunity to learn and their fundamental right to basic educational equality in the public schools on its head,” the suit said.
The suit says that the Commission on State Mandates Commission has allowed reimbursements for the Stull Act; more than 700 districts that at least report including student test scores in evaluations have filed $20 million in annual claims. Based on that, it would seem that districts could also seek repayment for more extensive evaluation costs, including mentoring, additional training and other actions that were recommended to teachers needing improvement.
The mandate of what districts must do is clear, the suit says; it’s just that they have ignored it.
Parents Sue LAUSD For Lack Of Teacher Evaluations
Kathleen Miles - The Huffington Post | http://huff.to/uw4sjA
11/1/11 08:19 PM ET Updated: 11/2/11 01:07 PM ET - An upcoming lawsuit by a coalition of Los Angeles parents and education groups alleges that the Los Angeles Unified School District has been breaking state laws for forty years.
As Dropout Nation reports, seven families, represented by Barnes & Thornburg LLP, are preparing to sue the Los Angeles Unifed School District (LAUSD) for not following the 1971 Stull Act, which mandates that California schools evaluate teachers and principals based on student performance. Today, the families asked California's superior court to bar any LAUSD-United Teacher Los Angeles (UTLA) contract that doesn't include data-based teacher evaluations.
In an October 26 letter, the families involved in the lawsuit gave LAUSD until the close of yesterday to demonstrate that it plans to implement data-based teacher evaluations. Their demands are based on a recent study that found that just 40 percent of veteran teachers and 70 percent of new teachers within the LAUSD were evaluated during the 2009-2010 school year.
As the Los Angeles Times reports, EdVoice, a Sacramento-based group with philanthropist Eli Broad, former ambassador Frank Baxter and healthcare company executive Richard Merkin as board members, is serving as a consultant for the families suing.
The announcement comes on the same day that LAUSD and UTLA set as a deadline for key contract agreements. However, the leaders of the two entities remain at a stalemate.
The pending lawsuit comes after a recent full-page ad in the LA Times, Daily News and La Opinion by a similar but separate coalition of civic and community groups with a clear message to UTLA: "Don't hold us back." The coalition, itself called Don’t Hold Us Back, asks for teacher evaluations in addition to protection of LAUSD's Public School Choice program, which allows teacher collaboratives and charter schools to request to run a school that is failing to meet benchmarks.
It remains to be seen if this louder parent frustration, now targeted especially towards UTLA, will hasten or further delay contract negotiations between LAUSD and UTLA.
STULL ACT: Demand that LAUSD immediately complyB&T: LAUSD Stull Demand Letter
THE STULL ACT: The Law
44660. It is the intent of the Legislature that governing boards
establish a uniform system of evaluation and assessment of the
performance of all certificated personnel within each school district
of the state, including schools conducted or maintained by county
superintendents of education. The system shall involve the
development and adoption by each school district of objective
evaluation and assessment guidelines which may, at the discretion of
the governing board, be uniform throughout the district or, for
compelling reasons, be individually developed for territories or
schools within the district, provided that all certificated personnel
of the district shall be subject to a system of evaluation and
assessment adopted pursuant to this article.
This article does not apply to certificated personnel who are
employed on an hourly basis in adult education classes.
44661. In the development and adoption of guidelines and procedures
pursuant to this article, the governing board shall avail itself of
the advice of the certificated instructional personnel in the
district's organization of certificated personnel; provided, however,
that the development and adoption of guidelines pursuant to this
article shall also be subject to the provisions of Article 1
(commencing with Section 7100) of Chapter 2 of Part 5 of Division 1
of Title 1.
44661.5. When developing and adopting objective evaluation and
assessment guidelines pursuant to Section 44660, a school district
may, by mutual agreement between the exclusive representative of the
certificated employees of the school district and the governing board
of the school district, include any objective standards from the
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards or any objective
standards from the California Standards for the Teaching Profession
if the standards to be included are consistent with this article. If
the certificated employees of the school district do not have an
exclusive representative, the school district may adopt objective
evaluation and assessment guidelines consistent with this section.
44662. (a) The governing board of each school district shall
establish standards of expected pupil achievement at each grade level
in each area of study.
(b) The governing board of each school district shall evaluate and
assess certificated employee performance as it reasonably relates
(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
(2) The instructional techniques and strategies used by the
(3) The employee's adherence to curricular objectives.
(4) The establishment and maintenance of a suitable learning
environment, within the scope of the employee's responsibilities.
(c) The governing board of each school district shall establish
and define job responsibilities for certificated noninstructional
personnel, including, but not limited to, supervisory and
administrative personnel, whose responsibilities cannot be evaluated
appropriately under the provisions of subdivision (b) and shall
evaluate and assess the performance of those noninstructional
certificated employees as it reasonably relates to the fulfillment of
(d) Results of an employee's participation in the Peer Assistance
and Review Program for Teachers established by Article 4.5
(commencing with Section 44500) shall be made available as part of
the evaluation conducted pursuant to this section.
(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.
(f) Nothing in this section shall be construed as in any way
limiting the authority of school district governing boards to develop
and adopt additional evaluation and assessment guidelines or
44663. (a) Evaluation and assessment made pursuant to this article
shall be reduced to writing and a copy thereof shall be transmitted
to the certificated employee not later than 30 days before the last
schoolday scheduled on the school calendar adopted by the governing
board for the school year in which the evaluation takes place. The
certificated employee shall have the right to initiate a written
reaction or response to the evaluation. This response shall become a
permanent attachment to the employee's personnel file. Before the
last schoolday scheduled on the school calendar adopted by the
governing board for the school year, a meeting shall be held between
the certificated employee and the evaluator to discuss the
(b) In the case of a certificated noninstructional employee, who
is employed on a 12-month basis, the evaluation and assessment made
pursuant to this article shall be reduced to writing and a copy
thereof shall be transmitted to the certificated employee no later
than June 30 of the year in which the evaluation and assessment is
made. A certificated noninstructional employee, who is employed on a
12-month basis shall have the right to initiate a written reaction or
response to the evaluation. This response shall become a permanent
attachment to the employee's personnel file. Before July 30 of the
year in which the evaluation and assessment takes place, a meeting
shall be held between the certificated employee and the evaluator to
discuss the evaluation and assessment.
44664. (a) Evaluation and assessment of the performance of each
certificated employee shall be made on a continuing basis as follows:
(1) At least once each school year for probationary personnel.
(2) At least every other year for personnel with permanent status.
(3) At least every five years for personnel with permanent status
who have been employed at least 10 years with the school district,
are highly qualified, if those personnel occupy positions that are
required to be filled by a highly qualified professional by the
federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (20 U.S.C. Sec. 6301, et
seq.), as defined in 20 U.S.C. Sec. 7801, and whose previous
evaluation rated the employee as meeting or exceeding standards, if
the evaluator and certificated employee being evaluated agree. The
certificated employee or the evaluator may withdraw consent at any
(b) The evaluation shall include recommendations, if necessary, as
to areas of improvement in the performance of the employee. If an
employee is not performing his or her duties in a satisfactory manner
according to the standards prescribed by the governing board, the
employing authority shall notify the employee in writing of that fact
and describe the unsatisfactory performance. The employing authority
shall thereafter confer with the employee making specific
recommendations as to areas of improvement in the employee's
performance and endeavor to assist the employee in his or her
performance. If any permanent certificated employee has received an
unsatisfactory evaluation, the employing authority shall annually
evaluate the employee until the employee achieves a positive
evaluation or is separated from the district.
(c) Any evaluation performed pursuant to this article which
contains an unsatisfactory rating of an employee's performance in the
area of teaching methods or instruction may include the requirement
that the certificated employee shall, as determined necessary by the
employing authority, participate in a program designed to improve
appropriate areas of the employee's performance and to further pupil
achievement and the instructional objectives of the employing
authority. If a district participates in the Peer Assistance and
Review Program for Teachers established pursuant to Article 4.5
(commencing with Section 44500), any certificated employee who
receives an unsatisfactory rating on an evaluation performed pursuant
to this section shall participate in the Peer Assistance and Review
Program for Teachers.
(d) Hourly and temporary hourly certificated employees, other than
those employed in adult education classes who are excluded by the
provisions of Section 44660, and substitute teachers may be excluded
from the provisions of this section at the discretion of the
44665. For purposes of this article, "employing authority" means
the superintendent of the school district in which the employee is
employed, or his designee, or in the case of a district which has no
superintendent, a school principal or other person designated by the