Sunday, December 20, 2009

LA Times: School district doesn't effectively evaluate teachers

At Chula Vista Elemetnary School District, principals seldom observed me or other teachers, but they did fill out evaluations. If I were a principal, I'd want to hear teachers' thoughts and ideas about teaching. In almost 3 decades of teaching, I never had such a conversation with an administrator. If the district had some idea of what was really going on at Castle Park Elementary, it could have saved $100,000s in legal costs. It had no idea how confused and disturbed certain teachers were when it allowed those teachers to dictate decisions at the district office.

Bar set low for lifetime job in L.A. schools
Los Angeles Unified often hands out tenure with little or no review of novice instructors' ability or their students' performance.
By Jason Felch, Jessica Garrison and Jason Song
December 20, 2009

Altair Maine said he was so little supervised in his first few years of teaching at North Hollywood High School that he could "easily have shown a movie in class every day and earned tenure nonetheless."

Before second-grade teacher Kimberly Patterson received tenure and the ironclad job protections it provides, she said, "my principal never set foot in my classroom while I was teaching."

And when Virgil Middle School teacher Roberto Gonzalez came up for tenure, he discovered there was no evaluation for him on file. When he inquired about it, his school hastily faxed one to district headquarters.

"I'm pretty sure it was just made up on the spot," Gonzalez said.

There is nothing to suggest these teachers didn't deserve tenure, but the district did little to ensure they were worthy.

A Times investigation found that the Los Angeles Unified School District routinely grants tenure to new teachers after cursory reviews -- and sometimes none at all.

Evaluating new teachers for tenure is one of a principal's most important responsibilities...

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