Teacher Seniority Vs. Test Scores

Should seniority or student's test scores decide which teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School district stay or go?

John Deasy, the LAUSD Superintendent wants to change the district's seniority system—no longer should the first teacher hired be the last fired. Instead, more emphasis should be put on students' test scores as a basis for evaluating a teacher's performance and future employment.

But Warren Fletcher, the new president of United Teachers Los Angeles, said that's not the answer.

"There are a lot of factors that go into quality teaching," Fletcher said. "Tying employment decisions to  test scores is something that is fairly dangerous."

Test scores by themselves, Fletcher said, are not always an accurate measure of performance.

"The Federal government has said that VAM models," Fletcher said, "like the ones the school board majority and the Superintendent are proposing and pushing—those can be expected to be inaccurate twenty-five percent of the time."

Fletcher believes that while some qualities of good teaching are quantifiable, not all can be measured.

"UTLA and the district agree the evaluation system needs to be revisited," Fletcher said. "We don't want to just sort of attach test scores to  a system that doesn't work."

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