The Blog at CTA

Journalist, Educator Derides "Shibboleths" about Due Process

Steve O’Donoghue, a long-time journalism teacher who now leads the California Scholastic Journalism Initiative, warns readers in an op-ed published in Sunday’s Sacramento Bee, Focus on teacher tenure distracts from schools’ real problems, that the Vergara lawsuit and the focus on changing “tenure” are diverting attention from the actual challenges facing public education.

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In Case You Missed It: Rutgers Professor Gives Failing Grade to StudentsFirst Report Card

When Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst organization released its “report card” on public schools in January, the work was roundly criticized for its shoddiness and inaccuracy.  Among those finding fault width the “report card” was Prof. Bruce D. Baker, of the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Dr. Baker weighed in on the “Rheeport” card in a long and thoughtful post slugged “Rheeformy logic, goofball rating.”

Among other things, Dr. Baker notes that the StudentsFirst report card rates highly those states found by other objective measures to be near the bottom in most reputable evaluations of educational effectiveness.

At the same time, Dr. Baker’s review finds virtually no correlation between high student achievement and the proposals touted by Rhee and StudentsFirst. (See the chart above.)

“The StudentsFirst State Policy Report Card is designed to support its own political agenda that does little for students as it fails to measure any of the matters that truly impact student achievement or issues that concern parents,” CTA President Dean Vogel has told reporters. “To no surprise California gets an F. Nearly all of the states get a C, D or below as the report is intended to declare schools are failing. This is political gamesmanship on the backs of our students once again—a media ploy designed to push Rhee’s StudentsFirst political agenda and fails to measure any of the issues that matter most to parents and students such as student achievement, small class sizes, adequate resources, school safety or even graduation rates.”

Read more at rheeformy-logic-goofball-rating-schemes-comments-analysis-on-the-students-first-state-policy-grades/

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Teachers Disappointed at Legislature's Failure to Approve Evaluation Revamp

The California Teachers Association is expressing disappointment that lawmakers failed to approve AB 5, a CTA-supported landmark measure by Assembly Member Felipe Fuentes (D-Los Angeles) that would have transformed the state's antiquated teacher evaluation system into a highly useful process that would help teachers improve their professional skills.

“California’s educators are disappointed that the Legislature missed a great chance to change the state’s teacher evaluation system in a way that would have improved our profession and student learning. AB 5 by Assembly Member Fuentes was based on sound research about how you build strong learning communities for students width a comprehensive teacher evaluation system," said CTA President Dean Vogel in a statement released to the media.

“The California Best Practices Teacher Evaluation bill was an opportunity to get beyond the simple test score debate and to develop meaningful teacher assessments based on multiple measures of accountability. Teachers will continue to press for fair reforms like those outlined in this bill," stated the CTA leader.

"Assembly Member Fuentes worked diligently width all stakeholders for two years to create a comprehensive package. We thank him for his leaderships on this effort. CTA will continue to press for the rigorous and fair reforms like those outlined in this bill to transform a teacher evaluation system that is currently superficial and cursory, and so contrary to fostering the collaboration we know is necessary to improve student achievement.”

To read more about what is essential to a quality and comprehensive teacher evaluation system, see the CTA Teacher Evaluation Framework.

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Clock Runs Out on Evaluation Reform: Author Fuentes Holds AB 5

The author of the CTA-supported measure that would reform the antiquated 40-year old Stull Act teacher evaluation process has decided not to move the measure due to the difficulty in providing a full hearing to a series of amendments added to his AB 5 in the last days of the session.

Assembly Member Felipe Fuentes (D-Los Angeles) [pictured at right]  issued the following statement about his decision to hold the California Best Practices Teacher Evaluation Proposal:

“After working on this bill in a transparent and collaborative manner for more than two years, I could not in good conscience allow the proposed amendments to be voted on widthout a full public hearing.  There would not be sufficient time for myself or the stakeholders I’ve been working width, to review the amendments that were being proposed.  I believe this issue is too important to be decided at the last minute and in the dark of night."

"I would like to thank all of the stakeholders who participated in this process for the past two years – particularly the parents and community members, whose dedication to improving our education system is unparalleled.  While every study has shown the quality of a teacher as the single most important factor in improving student achievement, I am disappointed that we were unable to update California’s out-of-date 40 year old teacher evaluation system.  We have moved the needle a long way in creating a modern teacher evaluation system here in California.  I am hopeful that someone else will take up this critical issue and the mantle of teacher evaluation reform next year."

"Although I am termed out of the Assembly, I will continue this fight moving forward.  Because I believe that creating a rigorous teacher evaluation system is too important and ultimately our children’s futures are too important.  As a parent and legislator I know that every child deserves a quality teacher in their classroom.”

The California Teachers Association commended Assembly Member Fuentes for his hard work in seeking to revamp the evaluation system to help students and teachers.

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CTA Takes Lead on Reform, Improvement to Teacher Evaluation System

CTA is pressing the legislature to approve AB 5 - a landmark measure that would implement best practices and common standards for teacher evaluation.

Teachers have long expressed dissatisfaction width the current process. Because evaluators need to treat all of our members fairly, the evaluators need training to make sure they understand how teacher evaluation is supposed to work.

Learn more about the bill by reading the background paper on the issue that is embedded below.

Then go to the CTA Legislative Action Center to learn more about the issue.


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Every child deserves a chance to learn and no child succeeds alone.

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