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Bill Would Alter California Teacher Evaluation Landscape

A bill resurrected in the California legislature threatens to further confound an already messy situation over teacher evaluations in the state.

The bill would require school districts to negotiate with local teachers' unions over all components of teacher-evaluation systems, in what some advocates say would jeopardize efforts to make standardized testing count as one indicator in a teacher's grade, according to the Los Angeles Times.

According to the National Council on Teacher Quality, teacher evaluation procedures are already subject to bargaining in California. But district officials, including Los Angeles', have argued that state law permits them to create the evaluation systems on their own. For instance, the law spells out some mandatory components, including that "pupil progress" on such tests be counted in teacher reviews.

State and district failure to comply with the mandate led to a class-action suit earlier this year, and under the terms of judge's ruling in favor of the plaintiffs in that suit, Los Angeles was to begin including the test scores by December in its teacher evaluations.

If the bill passes, that probably won't happen, to the frustration of those advocates who have been pushing forward on this front.

The California Teachers Association and its affiliates have adamantly opposed the use of standardized test scores as any part of a teacher's rating. For example, the United Teachers Los Angeles recently used a robocall announcement to discourage its members from participating in a voluntary teacher evaluation pilot program, the Times reported.

Although the CTA hasn't endorsed all aspects of the bill, it does seem to like its general provision, according to the Times.

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