Press Release

California State Senators and Governor Brown Should Reject Empty Teacher Evaluation Bill;

AB 5 Doesn’t Serve Teachers or Students

OAKLAND, CA (August 22, 2012)A broad group of reform minded school districts, education advocacy and civil rights organizations have come together to oppose California Assembly Bill 5.  AB 5 guts all objective accountability on adult job performance in public schools while undermining local authority and adds new unfunded state mandates of over $50 million.

“Many teachers, including the 1,000 plus members of Educators 4 Excellence-Los Angeles, support using student achievement as part of a multiple measure evaluation system,” says Ama Nyamekye, Executive Director of E4E-Los Angeles, a teacher-led, student-focused advocacy organization. “With AB 5, teachers are left in a no-win situation — either they continue to not receive proper evaluations of their work or they get an evaluation system that only tells them half a story about their performance in the classroom.”

At the very time voters are being asked to invest more in public education, this bill creates additional barriers to using pupil progress toward grade level standards in the evaluation of teachers and principals. Using student progress to evaluate teachers is a 40-year-old law that was recently upheld by the courts in the Doe v. Deasy decision.

“Current law is simple – districts must establish standards of expected student achievement at each grade level in each area of study; and, the job performance of teachers and principals must assess actual student progress toward those grade level standards, along with other measures of effectiveness,” explained Bill Lucia, EdVoice CEO. “AB 5 would permanently repeal these provisions, and also repeal the requirement to consider progress toward state grade level academic content standards.”

AB 5 cannot be waived and therefore will preclude the State of California or any local district in California from a waiver of No Child Left Behind/Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) because it runs explicitly counter to federal ESEA waiver and local Race to the Top application requirements.

“These revisions severely impede the progress we are making in reforming the teacher evaluation system in California.  It eliminates the portion of the Stull Act that enhances the accountability of a robust certificated appraisal system,” stated Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent of Schools John Deasy. “We need, and our teachers and students deserve, an evaluation system that enables us to identify and learn from excellence while maintaining clear expectations for outcomes. This bill would set back progress towards this goal.”

AB 5 mandates processes that are counter to and would immediately nullify best practices in teacher evaluation systems and innovative work being done locally in California districts and charter schools, including meaningful parental and community involvement and feedback in evaluations. Instead, the bill simply creates a mechanism for annual public comment in school districts on teacher evaluations.

“AB 5 back tracks two years of innovative work that has already been done by parents, community organizations, schools and school districts in California, especially in Los Angeles,” responded Angelica Solis, Executive Director of Alliance for a Better Community. “As a community, we still have time to define what effective teaching and teachers can and should look like, and there are working models of this already.”

The broad array of education stakeholders from across the state opposing AB 5 include: Alliance for a Better Community (ABC); Children Now; Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement (COPE); Democrats for Education Reform (DFER); The Education Trust—West; Educators 4 Excellence—Los Angeles; EdVoice; Great Oakland Public Schools; Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD); Parent Revolution; Reading and Beyond; Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Los Angeles (SCLC); StudentsFirst; Students Matter; Teach Plus Los Angeles.

“All students deserve access to effective teaching,” said Arun Ramanathan, Executive Director of The Education Trust—West, a statewide education civil rights organization. “AB 5 will prevent reforms to our teacher evaluation system critical to closing our state’s achievement gaps.”

See a full page ad opposing AB 5 running today in The Los Angeles Times.

 

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About Alliance for a Better Community (ABC):
The Alliance for a Better Community (ABC) promotes equity for Latinos in education, health, economic development and civic engagement for the betterment of the Los Angeles region.

About Children Now:
Children Now is the leading, nonpartisan, multi-issue research, policy development, and advocacy organization dedicated to promoting children’s health and education in California and creating national media policies that support child development.

About Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement (COPE):
COPE is now of 25 member organization with member congregations located in the communities of San Bernardino, Perris, Fontana, Moreno Valley, and Rialto. COPE and its member congregations use the art of grassroot community organizing to advocate for systemic change. COPE carries out its mission by engaging congregations and the families they serve in policy advocacy. 

About Democrats for Education Reform (DFER):
California Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) is a political action committee whose mission is to encourage a more productive dialogue within the Democratic Party on the need to fundamentally reform American K-12 public education.  DFER operates on all levels of government to educate elected officials and support reform-minded candidates for public office.

About The Education Trust—West:
The Education Trust—West works for the high academic achievement of all students at all levels, pre-k through college. We expose opportunity and achievement gaps that separate students of color and low-income students from other youth, and we identify and advocate for the strategies that will forever close those gaps.

About Educators 4 Excellence:
Educators 4 Excellence (E4E), a student-focused, teacher-led organization, works to ensure that the voices of classroom teachers are included in the creation of policies that shape our classrooms and careers.

About EdVoice:
EdVoice is a nonprofit grassroots network of parents, community leaders, educators, and the state’s leading education philanthropists, working together to be heard and give children a voice in the decision making process in Sacramento and throughout California. EdVoice works to improve measurable student achievement and eliminate educational inequality in California.

About Great Oakland Public Schools:
Great Oakland Public Schools is a nonprofit membership organization that connects and activates an informed community network to advance policies that ensure all Oakland students have the opportunity to attend quality public schools.

About Los Angeles Unified School District:
At Los Angeles Unified School District, our focus is on student learning and achievement. Our job is to create conditions and environments for students to flourish and to build a culture of curiosity and a community of life-long learners. Our vision is that every student will receive a quality education in a safe, caring environment, and will be college-prepared and career-ready. To realize our vision, we must work together and focus on our mission of serving all students every day. LAUSD will provide high-quality instruction and a rigorous curriculum in every classroom to facilitate student learning and achievement. 

About Parent Revolution:
Parent Revolution is dedicated to transforming public education by empowering parents to transform their children’s low performing schools through community organizing.

About Reading and Beyond:
Reading and Beyond is dedicated to improving the academic success of children. From birth through high school, our programs prepare young children for kindergarten, tutor school-age students to grade-level reading, teach parents to support them in school, and help families by encouraging healthy lifestyle habits.

About Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Los Angeles (SCLC):
The mission of the SCLC of Greater Los Angeles is to promote the philosophy of its founder Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., of non-violent progressive social change. For more information and to get involved, please call (323) 290-4100 or visit sclclosangeles.org.

About StudentsFirst:
StudentsFirst is a bipartisan grassroots movement of more than 1 million members nationwide, working to focus our education system on what’s best for students. Today, too many of America’s children are not getting the quality education they need and deserve. StudentsFirst is helping to change that with common sense reforms that help make sure all students have great schools and great teachers. We are working to ensure educators are valued for the critical role they play in kids’ lives, families have high-quality school choices and a real say in their child’s education, and our tax dollars are spent wisely on what works for kids. Launched by former Washington D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee in December 2010, StudentsFirst has successfully helped pass more than 70 student-centered policies in 17 states, and our movement continues to grow.

About Students Matter:
Students Matter is a 501(c)(3) organization that was founded to change outdated and harmful state laws that prevent the recruitment, support and retention of effective teachers.

About Teach Plus:
Teach Plus is a national non-profit based in Boston whose mission is to improve outcomes for urban children by ensuring that a greater proportion of students have access to effective, experienced teachers. Teach Plus runs three programs designed to place teacher leaders at the center of reform: Teaching Policy Fellows, the T+ Network, and T3: Turnaround Teacher Teams. The programs focus on demonstrably effective teachers who want to continue classroom teaching while also expanding their impact as leaders in their schools and in national, state, and district policy. Teach Plus began with 16 founding teachers from urban district and charter schools in Greater Boston. Since its inception as a non-profit in August 2009, Teach Plus has grown to a network of more than 10,000 solutions-oriented teachers in six major cities across the country. 

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