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The Obama Administration's Love-Hate Relationship With Calif.

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From guest blogger Lesli A. Maxwell:

California officials have been sweating bullets since President Barack Obama singled outthe state last week as likely to be shut out of winning grants in the $4.35 billion Race to the Top (RTTT) competition later this year, unless education leaders there become willing to drop the firewall that right now prohibits the use of student test scores to size up teachers.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has pledged to use his influence to rewrite state law around this issue. And yesterday, state schools chief Jack O'Connell parachuted into the Long Beach Unified School District where leaders have been using student data to evaluate instructional strategies and program effectiveness.

O'Connell wanted to make the case that the state law in question doesn't bar such uses of student data at the school district level, even though he acknowledged that Long Beach Unified is rare for doing so. The Times story refers to a 2006 state law that bars student test scores from being used to evaluate teachers at the state level.

Any California experts out there care to jump in and tell us what exactly state law allows, and what it doesn't, when it comes to student-achievement data and teacher evaluations?

Ironically, President Obama cited Long Beach Unified, a nationally acclaimed district that has won the Broad Prize for Urban Education, in his first major education address in March for "using data to track how much progress a student is making and where that student is struggling." I'm sure school leaders there would be bummed if their state was shut out of RTTT money.

1 Comment

Lesli,

I think they're referring to California Education Code 10601.5, which is below. The specific part is 10601.5(c), which prevents data from being used for "for purposes of pay, promotion, sanction, or personnel evaluation of an individual teacher or groups of teachers, or of any other employment decisions related to individual teachers."

Thanks,
Dave

10601.5. (a) The department, in collaboration with the Commission
on Teacher Credentialing, shall contract for the development of a
teacher data system to be known as the California Longitudinal
Teacher Integrated Data Education System that is based on the results
of the teacher data system feasibility study conducted pursuant to
Item 6110-001-0890 of Section 2.00 of the Budget Act of 2005 (Chapter
38 of the Statutes of 2005). The purpose of the system is to
streamline processes, improve the efficiency of data collection by
the department, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing, and the
Employment Development Department, and improve the quality of data
collected from local educational agencies and teacher preparation
programs. The system shall be developed and implemented in accordance
with all state rules and regulations governing information
technology projects.
(b) The system shall serve as the central state repository of
information regarding the teacher workforce in the state for purposes
of developing and reviewing state policy, identifying workforce
trends, and identifying future needs regarding the teaching
workforce. It shall also serve to provide high-quality program
evaluations, including evaluation of the effectiveness of teacher
preparation and induction, and to help improve professional
development programs. Additionally, it shall promote the efficient
monitoring of teacher assignments as required by state and federal
law.
(c) Data in the system shall not be used, either solely or in
conjunction with data from the California Longitudinal Pupil
Achievement Data System, for purposes of pay, promotion, sanction, or
personnel evaluation of an individual teacher or groups of teachers,
or of any other employment decisions related to individual teachers.
The system shall not include the names, social security numbers,
home addresses, telephone numbers, or e-mail addresses of individual
teachers.
(d) The system shall be used to accomplish all of the following
goals:
(1) Provide a means to evaluate all of the following:
(A) The effectiveness of teacher preparation programs, including,
but not limited to, traditional fifth-year programs, university
internship programs, and district-sponsored internship programs.
(B) Teacher workforce issues, including mobility, retention, and
attrition.
(2) Streamline and improve the effectiveness and timeliness of
assignment monitoring as required by the federal No Child Left Behind
Act of 2001 (20 U.S.C. Sec. 6301 et seq.) and by state law.
(3) Enable local educational agencies to monitor teacher
assignments on demand.
(e) For purposes of implementing this chapter, including the
legislative intent expressed in subdivision (b) of Section 10600, the
system shall include all of the following information:
(1) Age profiles of teachers in the workforce.
(2) Projections of the number of retirees in the education system
over the next 10 years throughout the state.
(3) Identification of subject matter fields that have the severest
shortage of teachers.
(4) Geographic distribution of teachers by credential type.
(5) Present patterns of in-service education for teachers.
(f) The Commission on Teacher Credentialing and accredited teacher
preparation programs shall participate in the system by providing
available data regarding enrollment in credential programs,
credentials issued in each specialization, and certificated persons
in each specialty who are not employed in education, and by
collaborating with the department in the design and preparation of
periodic reports of teacher supply and demand in each specialty and
in each geographic region of the state.
(g) The system shall do all of the following:
(1) Utilize and maximize use of existing teacher databases.
(2) Maintain longitudinally linked data without including the
names of teachers.
(3) Comply with all state and federal confidentiality and privacy
laws.
(h) The Superintendent shall convene a working group to provide
advice and guidance on the development and implementation of the
system. The group shall include, but is not limited to,
representatives from the Commission on Teacher Credentialing, the
Department of Finance, the Secretary for Education, the Legislative
Analyst's Office, the Employment Development Department, and
representatives of local educational agencies, postsecondary
educational institutions, researchers, teachers, administrators, and
parents.
(i) The operation of the system is contingent upon the
appropriation of funds for purposes of this section in the annual
Budget Act or other legislation.

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