Saturday, August 25, 2012

California Teachers' Union Scoreboard ... Teachers 99.3 -- Students 46

In the great state of California, 99.3% of the teachers are rated excellent but only 46% of their students are rated proficient. Huh?

There's a strong movement underway in much of America today to place the education of our kids on the priority list of public schools. Why do we have schools anyway, if not to educate our young people?

That nationwide movement and appreciation of the raison d'etre for schools, however, apparently haven't yet reached the California political class.

California's School Head Fake has another sickening political  story about teachers' unions and their strength among the political class. The editorial is subtitled 'Sacramento tries to strip student performance from teacher evaluations:'

"Covering the skulduggery in Sacramento is a full-time job, and sometimes it's hard to keep up, but we'll try. The latest example is an education bill that seeks to pre-empt a recent court order requiring that teachers be evaluated in part on student test scores. As always, the unions are getting the last word.

The school reform movement is sweeping the country as even many liberal Democrats seek to unite with parents against the union establishment. The Obama Administration has helped at the margin by making teacher accountability a factor in requests for more federal aid. Half of states now link teacher evaluations with student learning, and another half dozen are moving in that direction. Then there's California, which is doing a moon-walk on school reform.

In 1971 the state passed the Stull Act requiring that teacher evaluations take into account student progress. The legislature amended the law twice in the 1990s to make state standardized test scores a criterion for measuring progress. However, since most school boards take their marching orders from the unions, the law has been largely ignored. That was until a handful of parents last year sued the Los Angeles Unified School District for noncompliance.

In June Superior Court Judge James Chalfant ordered the district to include student test scores in teacher evaluations in accordance with the law. As the judge noted, something's amiss when 99.3% of teachers receive the highest grade on their evaluations, but only 46% of students score proficient on language arts state tests. The ruling set a precedent for parents across the state to demand that their districts also obey Stull.

This has alarmed the unions, which ordered their friends in the legislature to supercede the Los Angeles court order and ward off more legal challenges. The Assembly has dutifully passed a bill, which the Senate is now considering, that makes teacher evaluations entirely subject to collective bargaining. The bill would supposedly require evaluations to measure student academic growth, but that too would be subject to union negotiations.

Here's the kicker. Governor Jerry Brown and state Superintendent Tom Torlakson think they can sell this legislation as genuine reform to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who should know better. According to Mr. Torlakson, the bill would make the state's application for a No Child Left Behind waiver "more attractive."

Only in the eyes of the union beholders and beholden. One of the Education Department's criteria for a waiver is that states link a significant share of teacher evaluations to student achievement and test scores.

The anti-reformers are betting the White House will bend because it needs union support this fall. If Mr. Duncan does oblige, he'll be undermining his own standards for federal aid and betraying California students."

Summing Up

Unions are supporting the Democrats. Democrats are supporting the unions.

Who's supporting the education of our kids in California?

Not the politicians. Not the teachers' unions.

Something's seriously wrong when 99.3% of the teachers are rated excellent and only 46% of the kids are even proficient. Wonder what?

It seems to me that there are two possible answers to the above question: Either (1) almost all of the kids are in fact doing excellent classroom work and therefore being graded much too harshly; or (2) less than all the California teachers are wonderful while being given an automatic 'A' grade?

I'll guess that #2 is the correct answer.

Politics sucks. So do unions.

Thanks. Bob.

No comments:

Post a Comment