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LA teachers union knocks evaluation plan

Aug. 22, 2011 at 8:47 PM   |   Comments

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- The Los Angeles Unified School District is trying a teacher evaluation program with parent feedback and peer review, but the teachers' union says it opposes it.

The pilot program will feature parent and student feedback, students' standardized test scores, and more detailed observations given by peers, The Christian Science Monitor reported last week.

School officials say the new plan being tested is in line with the Obama administration's desire to use more systematic and data-driven approaches to evaluate teachers.

"This is actually a great initiative in Los Angeles because rather than adopting a policy on teacher evaluation, they are actually developing one," said David Plank of Policy Analysis for California Education, an independent, nonpartisan research center.

However, union officials have expressed disappointment that the district has instituted the program without their input.

"They are plowing on without consulting with us first, which is very unfortunate," Marla Eby, spokeswoman for United Teachers Los Angeles, said.

The union is complaining of insufficiently trained evaluators, a focus on individual teachers rather than on collaborative approaches and the use of computer programs for evaluation that still have bugs to be corrected.

"This should be about trying to improve teachers rather than evaluating and judging them," Eby says. "Everyone agrees that the current system is no good, but they just unilaterally barreled forward on this without our input and paid people to participate. We are calling it a bribe."

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