Delivering What We Owe Our Students: Effective Teachers and Principals

lausd studentsWe, the Board of Education of the Los Angeles United School District, stand united in our belief that our most important role is to set policies that ensure every student graduates college and career ready, regardless of race, ethnicity, primary language, circumstances of poverty, gender, or any other factor that may impact our youth and their families.

We know, research tells us, and the experiences of the students of LAUSD demonstrate that the clearest pathway to this goal is through our ability to ensure every student has the opportunity to learn from an effective teacher, in a school led by an effective leader, supported by the highest caliber team of adults working on behalf of their success every day.

That is why we empaneled the Teacher Effectiveness Taskforce, which consisted of all our key stakeholders.  This work began in April 2009 and set the course for a thoughtful and deliberate process to reach excellence for all our students.  The Taskforce provided us with a set of recommendations based on the best available research and resources, the experiences of the Taskforce members, and their knowledge of the critical steps needed to move us forward as a system.

Because ratings based on a single measure cannot determine the effectiveness of a teacher, LAUSD is endeavoring to use several different methodologies to more effectively evaluate our teachers.   We share the sense of urgency with the multitudes who have voiced qualified support of a more professional and data-informed culture of teacher and leader performance reviews.  We also firmly believe that the ultimate determination of an individual teacher or administrator’s level of effectiveness must be comprised through thoughtfully using multiple measures of performance, including such measures as: observation by well-trained professionals, contributions to the school community, stakeholder feedback in a form such as surveys, and measures of student achievement over time. It is also important for this process to be developed with teachers and administrators and not done to teachers and administrators.

That is why we are asking the Superintendent to expedite negotiations immediately with United Teachers Los Angeles and Associated Administrators of Los Angeles to develop a fair and valid process by which we can employ multiple measure reviews that differentiate between performance levels of our educators, allowing us to better target our support, interventions and resources, and offering the opportunity to better leverage the amazing teachers and leaders throughout the district who are too often unrecognized.

As part of this effort, we have issued a set of principles that make clear our expectation from district staff as they begin negotiations in earnest with our union partners.  These principles form our core beliefs surrounding this work and, as such, must be fully embraced by the eventual agreement.  This Board will accept nothing less.  The principles are as follows:

  • Our new evaluations must include multiple measures, including a balanced use of appropriate value-added data.
  • Our new evaluations must differentiate levels of instruction and performance, including actual good instruction/leadership.
  • Our new evaluations must place strong emphasis on evidence of student learning over time, offering feedback to instruction rather than feedback to simple routines.
  • Our new evaluations must mean something to the employee; ratings must always be useful to teachers and administrators.  They must result in timely, specific feedback on all levels of performance, be used to establish a roadmap for needed supports, and to improve instructional dialogue at the school level, not just provide summative judgment.
  • Our new evaluation ratings must inform all employment decisions, including tenure, hiring for specialist or leadership positions, new hires, or when restructuring a school.
  • Our new evaluation ratings must include and reflect meaningful parent engagement that will result in multiple evaluation measures that address the needs of parents to understand student and teacher performance and to make informed decisions about their children’s education.

yolie floresThis Board supports all of our employees.  The recent results of CST scores, CAHSEE exams, and Parent Surveys suggest that our employees are working harder than ever and are fully committed to the academic success of students.  We will not rest until we reach success for all our students by having an effective teacher in every classroom and an effective administrator in every school.

Yolie Flores
Board Member, District 5
Los Angeles Board of Education

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Comments

  1. Somday says

    Please include in your list of ‘new evaluations’ an indepth assessment of the curriculum we are giving the teachers and expecting students to understand, learn, and retain. Perhaps if we used more age- and developmentally-appropriate curriculums in the elementary years, students would be ready, able, and even eager to learn in later years. By moving so quickly through academics, many students don’t master the basics. Mastery would build confidence. Confidence would create eager learners. Eager learners would result in many more high school graduates who are ready for college or the workforce should they choose.

    I have seen and heard many commentaries about improving the teacher workforce. Why not improve what they endeavor to teach?

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