Opposing AB5 - We need a more thoughtful approach for teacher development
August 31, 2012
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AB5 is a deeply important and deeply flawed California bill that would reform a teacher evaluation system with which everyone if dissatisfied.
Wednesday night--at 8:00 P.M., at the meeting called with no more than 30 minutes notice--the Senate Education Committee voted to advance AB5 without even having the language of some promised amendments in front of them to read.
For the past couple of weeks, GO has been working with a growing coalition of the organizations from across California in opposition to AB5. In the course of this time, we have seen power politics and the "sausage making" of the state legislation play out in real time. During these conversations, students were almost entirely absent from the conversation replaced, instead, with adult concerns from all sides.
Legislation was hastily drafted and redrafted. Hearings were called on very short notice. People whose entire job it is to track these developments, would barely keep abreast of what was happening - all because powerful people were trying to hurry this bill into law in the last moments of this legislative session.
GO Public Schools joins a long list of organizations in (see below for a list of other organizations sharing GO's concerns) opposes to Assembly Bill 5 (Fuentes), legislation related to implementing a teacher evaluation system. Editorial boards from around the state have weighed in to oppose this bill:
Below is a list of issues that should be addressed before this bill is passed. We support the ongoing improvement of the evaluation system and view evaluations as part of a ongoing system for professional development, however, as of the night before the vote, and not knowing what the actual last minute amendments will be, we feel the AB5 is not a good bill for students for many reasons, including the following:
- AB 5 imposes a costly mandate on all districts but provides funding only for start-up costs at schools that receive QEIA funds
- AB 5 removes local decision making for additional QEIA monies by directing those funds towards implementing a new teacher evaluation system.
- AB 5 prohibits the State board of Education from waiving the best practices teacher evaluation system in order for a school district to add additional measurements.
- AB 5 reduces local control by limiting the ability of local governing boards to act on objective data to hold employees accountable.
- AB 5 does not meet federal requirements in order for California to receive the federal NCLB waiver.
- AB prevents any meaningful gauge of student growth in evaluations and invites disputes over allowable evidence of student learning.
- AB 5 expands the scope of collective bargaining for school districts. Evaluation criteria and standards for satisfactory performance would be subjects of bargaining, weakening an LEA's ability to hold teachers accountable.
- AB 5 repeals grade level proficiency. There would no longer be a default provision in California law requiring performance evaluations of teachers and principals to include the assessment of the progress of pupils toward expected grade level achievement.
- AB 5 places the program under the new mandate block grant replacing the less costly Stull Act. The new block grant should be adjusted to reflect the increase in mandates resulting from AB 5 estimated to be $18 million annually with some estimates considerably higher.
Organizations opposing AB5
- Alliance for a Better Community
- Association of California School Administrators
- Bay Area Council
- California Association of School Business Officials
- California Association of Suburban Schools
- California County Superintendents Educational Services Association
- California School Boards Association
- California State PTA
- Central Valley Education Coalition
- Children Now
- Democrats for Education Reform
- Ed Voice
- Educate our State
- Educators 4 Excellence
- El Dorado County Office of Education
- Families in Schools
- Great Oakland Public Schools
- Green Dot Public Schools
- Kern County Superintendent of Schools
- Los Angeles County Office of Education Superintendent of Schools, Arturo Delgado
- Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa
- Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John E. Deasy
- Parents Advocate League
- Riverside County Office of Education
- Riverside County School Superintendents' Association
- Riverside County Superintendent of Schools, Kenneth M. Young
- San Bernardino County District Advocates for Better Schools
- San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools
- San Diego County Office of Education
- San Francisco Unified School District
- School Employers Association of California
- Small Schools Districts' Association
- Southern Christian Leadership Conference
- Students First
- Students Matter
- Teach +Plus
- The Education Trust West
- United Way of Greater Los Angeles