Los Angeles Unified Superintendent John Deasy announced Friday that student test scores will make up 30 percent of a new teacher evaluation system, sparking a dispute with union leaders who say that isn't what he promised.
Deasy sent a "directive" to principals, ordering them to immediately begin using test data when setting goals for their teachers and gauging their overall performance.
He said student performance will count for 30 percent, while the greatest weight will be given to classroom observation. Factors like attendance rates and parent and student surveys also will be considered.
"These guidelines are a vital step in our continuing effort to provide students with the highest-performing teachers," Deasy said in a statement. "I look forward to working with the teacher's union and principals in successfully implementing this system."
The new performance evaluation is the result of a lawsuit known as Doe vs. Deasy, which claimed the district was violating state law by not using student test scores to rate its teachers.
A judge agreed, and the district and United Teachers Los Angeles spent months hammering out a deal. It was ratified last month by the union and approved Tuesday by the school board.
UTLA President Warren Fletcher said Deasy had proposed a 30 percent figure during negotiations and the union rejected it. Deasy then removed any fixed percentage from the pact, which allowed the two sides to come to an agreement.
"In order for all of us to work together, there needs to be trust," Fletcher said in a phone interview. "You undermine that trust when you negotiate one thing and attempt to impose something else."
The union sent a letter late Friday to its members, advising them how to challenge any evaluation using the new system while it considers its legal options.
"UTLA is, first and foremost, calling on Deasy to abide by agreement that it negotiated," Fletcher said. "We're trying to improve the evaluation process - we all are - and this sets us back."
Deasy said the district will continue training administrators in how to use the new evaluation system to help teachers improve in areas where they're weak develop in those where they already shine.
"We move forward to helping teachers," Deasy said in an email.
When the deal was first announced in December, officials said test data from a teacher's classroom could be used to "give perspective" in reviewing a teacher's performance, while schoolwide data would be considered in the final review.