Monday, January 04, 2010

L.A. schools chief orders weak new teachers ousted

Great to see this in LA:


L.A. schools chief orders weak new teachers ousted

Supt. Ramon Cortines wants the educators removed before they get tenure. He acknowledges that the district has largely failed to adequately evaluate teacher performance.

By Jason Song and Jason Felch

December 18, 2009,0,6523820.story


Los Angeles schools Supt. Ramon C. Cortines ordered administrators Thursday to weed out ineffective new teachers before they become permanent, acknowledging that the nation's second-largest school system has largely failed to adequately evaluate teacher performance.

"This district can be rightly criticized for the promotion of ineffective teachers over the years. That is about to change," Cortines said. "We do not owe poor performers a job."

Taking aim at weak probationary teachers now could spare the district from firing others who are more effective but have slightly less experience next summer when there will probably be another round of layoffs. Teachers must be let go by seniority, according to state law, which has forced the Los Angeles Unified School District to ignore performance in its dismissals, officials said.

The announcement came a week after The Times presented L.A. Unified with the results of an investigation that found the district often doesn't meaningfully assess new teachers before they are granted tenure. The story is scheduled to appear in Sunday's paper.

Cortines said The Times' inquiries to district staff had prompted him to look into the issue.

"I think you helped get their attention and helped me," he said.

Cortines urged district officials to scrutinize the 404 probationary teachers who received a "needs improvement" on one or more criteria on their evaluations last year. Under state law, instructors are at-will employees for two years before being made permanent, a status that renders them all but impossible to fire.

The superintendent also urged greater monitoring of 339 administrators who have not yet become permanent and 175 tenured teachers and other employees who received negative evaluations last year.

"The days of coddling ineffective teachers, or allowing them to be moved to another school, are over," he said. "No more excuses."


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