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LAUSD Superintendent: Drop weak teachers

December 18, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Superintendent Ramon Cortines wants to eliminate poor performing teachers from the nation's second largest school system. But the question remains: How will teachers be evaluated? Both the union and the district agree that the system to evaluate teachers as well as administrators is broken and desperately needs to be fixed. In fact, indications are that the system to evaluate teachers currently pretty much doesn't exist.

But the one thing that is perfectly clear is that the LAUSD superintendent says if after a short probationary period, a person cannot cut it in the classroom, they need to decide on a new career.

"If we are going to improve this district and if we are going to be attractive for parents to look at us, we've all got to be accountable," said Cortines.

"What I don't want is for a witch hunt to go on," said A.J. Duffy, the president of the L.A. Teacher's Union. Duffy and Cortines both agree that the system to evaluate teachers and administrators is a broken one and needs to be fixed. Cortines says that he wants to put together a system where outstanding teachers mentor new ones just getting started. If after a two-year probationary period the new teacher isn't doing well, they need to be let go.

"It's been perceived that this is getting rid of bad teachers. This is about how do we support, how do we help teachers? But if they cannot be helped or are not willing to be helped, then they need to go," said Cortines.

From the Union's point of view, if a probationary teacher isn't doing well, an extra step should be taken before letting them go.

"If there is somebody who is having difficulty and with help can get better, then we owe it to that prospective teacher of the future, the students, the parents and the community to help that teacher try to get better. If they can't, then they don't belong in the profession," said Duffy.

Students say that they would like to see teachers evaluated on their performance in the classroom.

"Teachers, they get everything wrong and we are the ones learning from them. I think that we shouldn't be learning from them because they are getting everything wrong. And everything they are teaching us it's like we are learning from them," said Hayde Cadenas, a student.

Duffy said that he wants to contact Cortines to set up a meeting between the union, the administrators union and the district to basically come up with an idea to efficiently evaluate prospective teachers and administrators, but many from the district and the union admits that will cost money, and money right now is tight especially when the district is just dealing with a huge deficit right now.


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