By Victor Skinner
LOS ANGELES – The United Teachers Los Angeles union has finally embraced the concept of performance-based evaluations, but not for teachers.
The union plans to evaluate the performance of Los Angeles school Superintendent John Deasy, and their judgment is bound to be harsh.
The teachers union wants its 32,000 members to evaluate Deasy’s performance in a survey on its website. It’s a pushback against Deasy’s effort to incorporate student test scores into teacher evaluations and his support for school choice, the LA Daily News reports.
“The purpose of any evaluation is about improving performance, and it’s important to have meaningful data to give to the school board regarding policy decisions about what is currently happening,” UTLA President Warren Fletcher told the news site.
But performance really isn’t the purpose of the union’s “evaluation.” The tactic comes only a few weeks after the union announced about half of its members cast a vote of “no confidence” in Deasy. UTLA leaders plan to present that vote to the school board at its May 14 meeting, and to hold a rally the same day to demand pay raises and more teaching positions.
The union is clearly after Deasy’s job. As the Daily News put it, “In asking members last month whether they believe the district is headed in the right direction, UTLA mounted a ‘Whoopsie Deasy’ campaign, using unflattering images of the superintendent in cartoons that spotlighted union concerns about salaries and layoffs, the loss of campus counselors and the treatment of teachers accused of misconduct.”
The “performance evaluation” is more likely a targeted message to school board members up for election this year. They’re the only ones with the ability to terminate Deasy’s $330,000-per-year contract, which they can do at any time with a majority vote and 30 days notice, according to the news site.
Deasy believes the union’s no-confidence vote and other schemes are “nonsense,” and we agree.
The superintendent told the Daily News he’s evaluated every year on a “performance meter” that includes data on graduation, attendance rates, student achievement, and school safety.
“I report to the school board,” he said. “Anyone else is certainly entitled to their opinion.”
Three school board seats are open in this year’s election, and the UTLA initially wanted to release the results of their superintendent “performance evaluation” before votes were cast in the recent primary, but apparently couldn’t get it together.
Union officials are now asking their members to complete the survey by May 10, and expect to present the results to the school board in June, the Daily News reports.
Like anyone with half a brain really cares.