Why unions are livid about L.A.’s new teacher-evaluation experiment

Daniel Wood

After years of frustration with its own teacher-evaluation system, the second-largest school district in the country is pilot-testing a new idea against the wishes of its union.
With the Obama administration offering incentives for school systems to revamp how they evaluate teachers’ effectiveness, the episode with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) carries important lessons nationwide, analysts say.
The fresh approach in Los Angeles meshes with the Obama administration’s efforts to use more systematic and data-driven approaches to evaluate teachers. It includes parent and student feedback, students’ standardized test scores, and more detailed observations given by peers – who watch teachers and then type their observations and questions into laptop computers, then discuss their impressions the next day.