A local advocacy group is pushing for teachers' raises and bonuses based on whether instructors are willing to take on difficult assignments and on whether they deliver measurable student achievement gains.
The proposals are part of two policy papers that were developed by a small group of Los Angeles-area teachers under the guidance of Educators 4 Excellence, a foundation-funded group with a local branch.
The group is seeking to create an alternative to the local teachers union for instructors who want to get involved in political and policy issues. The group's principles include using student standardized test scores as part of a teacher's performance evaluation.
Such scores also should be tied to raises, to tenure decisions and, when necessary, to layoffs, according to the position papers.
The policy recommendations include an array of strategies, some of which echo proposals by the union, United Teachers Los Angeles. The union, however, has rejected the idea of pay linked to student performance on state tests.
The group has scheduled a news conference for Thursday afternoon to release the policy papers officially. The group announced that L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy would attend as well as two board members, Monica Garcia and newly elected member Monica Ratliff.
The Educators 4 Excellence proposals also include turning over hiring decisions to schools and starting the process early enough so that campuses are not forced into last-minute decisions from a limited applicant pool.
One proposal suggests four categories of teachers based on a sustained rating as "effective" or "highly effective" over time. The highest rated teachers would take on mentoring and leadership roles and receive more money for these duties.
Both papers contain a "Letter to the Mayor," but don't clearly specify whether the addressee is outgoing mayor Antonio Villaraigosa or his soon-to-be successor, Eric Garcetti. The timing suggests that the group is vying to get its favored policies into the new mayor's playbook.
The release also takes place as the Board of Education is poised to vote on a budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Several board members, along with union leaders, have suggested that available resources should be used to restore staff positions lost during the recent recession and reduce class sizes.
Teachers union President Warren Fletcher had no immediate comment, pending his review of the recommendations. But critics of pay-for-performance have cited research suggesting that such incentives typically fail, in part because the vast majority of teachers already are putting forth their best effort.
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