By Len Feldman
The first of the bills to "bring California into compliance" with the not-yet-drafted federal regulations has cleared the Legislature and gained the governor's approval. The measure, SB 19, by state Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Santa Clara), deletes a sentence in the state's Education Code that forbids using a state education database for purposes of teacher evaluation or pay.
SB 19 is intended to respond to a provision of the federal law implementing Race to the Top — the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The federal provision allows states to apply for the $4.35 billion RTTT competitive grant program only if they have no "statutory or regulatory barriers to linking data about student growth and achievement to teachers for the purposes of teacher and principal evaluation."
The target of the change was a sentence in the Education Code section that created CALTIDES — the California Longitudinal Teacher Integrated Data Education System - perceived to be such a barrier to linking student data to evaluations.
CTA legal experts point out that SB 19's deletion of an Education Code sentence regarding the use of CALTIDES data in teacher evaluations "has no direct impact on any evaluation provisions in collective bargaining agreements. It does not supersede, nullify or require any changes to existing language that has been collectively bargained. It does not change existing Education Code provisions regarding evaluation, nor does it mandate making a change in evaluation procedures."
CTA experts also point out that evaluation procedures are within the scope of bargaining, and districts cannot unilaterally change their procedures. The experts also note that the Education Code has long provided for collectively bargained processes by which educators' evaluations reflect the progress of their students in relation to state standards.
To read more about SB 19, see our story "The facts about Senate Bill 19."