Shocked teachers union confronts superintendent with a spine

Feb. 16, 2013

By Chris Reed

The CTA’s L.A. branch, the United Teachers Los Angeles, is almost cartoonish in its villainy. UTLA members are the only suspects in a pathetic 2009 incident in which Latino parents of students attending a horrible elementary school in south L.A. were given anonymous flyers that said they risked being deported if they supported efforts to convert the school to charter status.

In 2008, the L.A. Times reported that a teacher and former UTLA official had escaped punishment for a hateful classrom incident in which he cruelly taunted a middle school student over his failed suicide attempt. Why? The UTLA vigorously defended the teacher, using district rules designed to protect members from almost every consequence of their professional behavior.

Yunno, the same protections that forced a payoff for the guy who fed semen to his students, instead of immediate firing.

Follow state law? How dare you!

So it was gratifying and funny to see the stories about how horrified UTLA was that L.A. Unified Superintendent John Deasy actually intended to follow a state law and a court ruling and make teachers’ classroom performance a significant part of teacher evaluations. This is by EdSource’s John Fensterwald:

“A high-profile teacher evaluation agreement was but days old Friday when Los Angeles Unified Superintendent John Deasy and the district’s teachers’ union expressed sharp disagreement over a contentious provision.

“United Teachers Los Angeles accused Deasy of breaking a binding agreement by requiring that ‘data-driven’ measures of student achievement be given a ‘weight limited to 30 percent’ of a teacher’s final evaluation. Deasy referred to the figure in guidelines he issued to principals on how to conduct evaluations. In a statement, he said that classroom observations and other similar factors ‘will remain the primary and controlling factors.’

“Deasy ‘is free to express his opinions, but any attempt to require principals to assign a specific weight to student test data in a teacher’s evaluation is a violation of the protections in an agreement between UTLA and the District,’ UTLA responded in a statement.

“The dispute came three days after LAUSD’s school board ratified the evaluation agreement that the district and UTLA reached in November. Under a court-ordered deadline, both sides agreed to include measures of student academic progress, including the use of state standardized test scores. UTLA members ratified the agreement last month. …

“A maximum 30 percent weight for gauging student performance would appear a reasonable reading of the agreement, but UTLA argues that’s for principals, working with teachers, to determine on a site by site basis, not for Deasy to dictate.”

Yeah, you see, it should be principals, not superintendents, deciding how to evaluate teachers. Why should the superintendent get to make all the decisions?


New board may force Deasy out

Good for John Deasy. Unfortunately, he could be in the final month or months of his job. On March 5, three open board seats will be filled in a LAUSD election. Surprise, surprise: Three UTLA-backed candidates are strongly against Deasy for his decision to follow state law and a court ruling and actually try to measure the classroom performance of his teachers.

What nerve? Can you imagine?

And Jerry Brown wants more power at the local level, where UTLA-style power plays are the absolute norm and usually successful. Brilliant, Jer, just brilliant.


Write a comment
  1. Richard Rider
    Richard Rider 16 February, 2013, 12:02

    Education vouchers and/or tax credits. All else is futile.

    Unions rule government schools.

    Reply this comment
  2. Howard Epstein
    Howard Epstein 16 February, 2013, 12:06

    Teacher’s union bosses are among the most arrogant and rude people on the planet. Last campaign season I was one of the local No On 30 spokespeople. I was doing a sidewalk interview with the San Francisco CBS affiliate when San Francisco teachers’ union boss Dennis Kelly and an assistant came up behind me shouted me down. Kelly said it’s a public sidewalk and he was using his 1st Amendment rights. He thinks the 1st Amendment applies only public employee union bosses who are by definition communists,

    Reply this comment
  3. Hondo
    Hondo 16 February, 2013, 16:02

    Home schooling is the answer. Go to the Khan academy where everything is free. Almost everything is free on the internet if you look hard enough. And no Sandy Hooks either. Don’t send your kids to those free kill zones that are our union run public schools.
    Home school and defund the unions.

    Reply this comment
  4. sgt
    sgt 16 February, 2013, 18:35

    Brown is as phony as they come. I saw that the last time he held office and saw even more when I worked on networking his computers for his previous election.

    I don’t understand how he ‘got elected’??? I don’t know anybody who would have voted for him.

    Reply this comment
  5. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 16 February, 2013, 20:09

    Well you don’t know many people then, do you sgt. As I recall, Brown got the majority of the vote. Those like me preferred to see a man who was born and raised in a state he loves lead us, rather than turn the reins over to a billionaire, who just blew into town looking for a diversion, “toy”. You come off as looking phony as they come, to me.

    Reply this comment
  6. Gary Aminoff
    Gary Aminoff 17 February, 2013, 09:54

    The only solution to the appalling education provided to students by the LAUSD is school choice. When public schools have to face competition for students they will have to clean up their act, or fail. Teachers unions are there to support teachers, not students, and so long as the schools are effectively controlled by unions, students will not receive the education they are entitled to. We must get school choice in California if we ever want to see that our children are properly educated.

    Reply this comment
  7. PJ
    PJ 18 February, 2013, 15:38

    Hey, Tony Villar wants to control schools too! What could go wrong?

    I saw an honest news reporter once ask a UTLA shill who was shouting about budget cuts causing bigger classes, “What do you mean, bigger class size? The enrollment is steadily dropping.” The union guy was flummoxed.

    Reply this comment

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