BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                    AB 1495


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          Date of Hearing:  April 29, 2015


                           ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION


                              Patrick O'Donnell, Chair


          AB 1495  
          Weber - As Amended April 14, 2015


          SUBJECT:  Teachers:  evaluation


          SUMMARY:  Adds new requirements to the certificated employee  
          evaluation system, known as the Stull Act.    Specifically, this  
          bill:  


          1)Specifies, if applicable, multiple measures of pupil progress,  
            pupil academic growth, pupil achievement, and pupil outcomes  
            for purposes of evaluating and assessing certificated employee  
            performance may include, but shall not be limited to, any of  
            the following sources:





             a)   State-adopted formative and summative criterion  
               referenced assessments.





             b)   School district, school, or department-developed  








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               assessments.





             c)   Curriculum-based and end-of-course assessments.





             d)   Pretest and posttest data.





             e)   Interim, periodic, benchmark, and formative assessments.





             f)   English language proficiency assessments.





             g)   Assessments measuring progress in an individualized  
               education program.





             h)   Advance placement, international baccalaureate, and  
               college preparedness examinations.








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             i)   A-G coursework completion.





             j)   Industry-recognized career technical education  
               assessments and program completion.





             aa)  Portfolios of pupils' work, projects, and performances  
               redacted of personally identifiable pupil information.





             bb)  Surveys from parents, if approved in advance by the  
               certificated employee.





             cc)  Surveys from pupils, if approved in advance by the  
               certificated employee.













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             dd)  Written reports from classroom observations.





             ee)  Progress on outcomes described in the local control and  
               accountability plan.





          2)Requires the employing authority to use a minimum of three  
            rating levels of professional achievement for evaluation and  
            assessment of certificated employees and requires at least two  
            rating levels to identify certificated employees who meet  
            either of the following:





             a)   Require more development and growth to achieve a rating  
               of satisfactory or meeting standards, and who are required  
               to participate and receive appropriate additional support,  
               training, and assistance.





             b)   Demonstrate unsatisfactory performance or conduct,  
               unsuccessfully participated in mandatory corrective action,  
               refused to participate in required additional support and  
               training, or are subject to mandatory reassignment,  
               suspension, or adverse action resulting from charges  
               pursuant to Article 3 (commencing with Section 44930) of  
               Chapter 4. This rating level shall be applicable to  








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               paragraph (5) of subdivision (a) of Section 44932.





          3)Requires, if a school district participates in the California  
            Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) Program for Teachers, a  
            certificated employee who receives a rating in either of the  
            levels described (#2 above) on an evaluation shall participate  
            in PAR.





          4)Specifies, notwithstanding any other law, in endeavoring to  
            assist the employee as mandated, the school district shall, at  
            a minimum, consider the employee's eligibility for  
            professional development identified in the school district and  
            applicable school's local control and accountability plan  
            (LCAP), and prioritize the employee's eligibility for any  
            professional development supported by one-time or ongoing  
            funds appropriated by the Legislature in the annual Budget  
            Act, including professional development in the state academic  
            content standards adopted by the state board, and training on  
            services to English learners to access the common core  
            academic content standards and the English language  
            development standards.


          5)Requires the guidelines developed by the State Board of  
            Education (SBE) to comply with the Administrative Procedure  
            Act.


          EXISTING LAW:  










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          1)Establishes the Stull Act, enacted in 1971, which governs  
            certificated employee evaluations and requires school  
            districts to evaluate and assess teacher performance as it  
            reasonability relates to pupil performance on criterion  
            referenced tests, teacher technique and strategies, curricular  
            objectives, and the maintenance of a suitable learning  
            environment.  Specifies that in the development and adoption  
            of evaluation guidelines and procedures, the governing board  
            shall avail itself of the advice of the certificated  
            instructional personnel in the district's organization of  
            certificated personnel pursuant to collective bargaining  
            statutes.  Specifies that a school district may, by mutual  
            agreement between the exclusive representative of the  
            certificated employees of the school district and the  
            governing board of the school district, include any objective  
            standards from the National Board for Professional Teaching  
            Standards or any objective standards from the California  
            Standards for the Teaching Profession.  Specifies that teacher  
            evaluations shall be made on a continuing basis at least once  
            each school year for probationary personnel; at least every  
            other year for personnel with permanent status; and, at least  
            every five years for personnel with permanent status who have  
            been employed at least 10 years with the school district, are  
            highly qualified, if those personnel occupy positions that are  
            required to be filled by a highly qualified professional, and  
            whose previous evaluation rated the employee as meeting or  
            exceeding standards, if the evaluator and certificated  
            employee being evaluated agree.  Specifies that an employee  
            who receives an unsatisfactory rating in the area of teaching  
            methods or instruction may be required to participate in a  
            program designed to improve appropriate areas of the  
            employee's performance; and, requires if a school district  
            participates in the Peer Assistance and Review Program for  
            Teachers (PAR), employees who receive an unsatisfactory rating  
            shall participate in PAR.  (Education Code 44660 et. seq.)

          2)Establishes the Peer Assistance and Review Program for  
            Teachers (PAR) by authorizing school districts and the  
            exclusive representative of the certificated employees to  








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            develop and implement the program locally.  Specifies that  
            assistance and review shall include multiple observations of a  
            teacher during periods of classroom instruction.  Specifies  
            the program shall expect and strongly encourage a cooperative  
            relationship between the consulting teacher and the principal  
            with respect to the process of peer assistance and review.   
            Specifies the school district shall provide sufficient staff  
            development activities to assist a teacher to improve his or  
            her teaching skills and knowledge.  Specifies the final  
            evaluation of a teacher's participation in the program shall  
            be made available for placement in the personnel file of the  
            teacher receiving assistance.  (Education Code 44505)

          FISCAL EFFECT:  Legislative counsel has keyed this bill a state  
          mandated local program.


          COMMENTS:  This bill adds requirements to the certificated  
          employee evaluation system, known as the Stull Act.





          According to the author, although California law has required  
          the consideration of evidence of actual pupil progress in the  
          evaluation and assessment of certificated staff job performance  
          for over four decades, school district personnel continue to  
          struggle with what measures of pupil progress are appropriate  
          especially with the lack of state tests in specific grade levels  
          or content areas.  As a result of this confusion, a majority of  
          California's largest school districts do not comply with the law  
          and fail to include any actual data from state or local measures  
          or observations of actual pupil progress in the performance  
          evaluations of certificated staff.  Student learning is the most  
          important outcome of the public education system and determining  
          whether or not the system is successful and effective.  What is  
          at stake is every individual child's constitutional right to an  
          education and an equal educational opportunity to learn.   








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          Struggling teachers have classes with children struggling to  
          learn.  While focusing on student performance, the system must  
          identify and help teachers needing improvement, which is not  
          consistently done.  With the recent major revisions to the  
          public school finance system, it is important to have  
          consistency in the evaluation and assessment of certificated  
          staff job performance and add pupil achievement and pupil  
          outcome goals delineated in the school's LCAP to provide  
          consistency with the Stull Act and resources available to help  
          struggling staff.
          
          SBE Guidelines: This bill requires the SBE guidelines on teacher  
          evaluation to comply with the Administrative Procedure Act  
          (APA). According to the SBE, the last known SBE guidelines on  
          the Stull Act were created in 1972 and sent out to districts at  
          that time. These guidelines created in 1972 pre-dated the APA.  
          Essentially, this bill requires the SBE to re-draft the  
          guidelines to comply with the APA.  Existing law requires the  
          SBE to distribute the guidelines to all districts in the state,  
          but it is unclear whether the SBE would then be required to  
          distribute the new guidelines to all districts in the state. 
          
          Research on Evaluation: Several research studies detail the  
          essential principals and components of a strong teacher  
          evaluation system.  The National Comprehensive Center for  
          Teacher Quality argues a strong evaluation system must: "involve  
          teachers and stakeholders in developing the system; use multiple  
          indicators; and give teachers opportunities to improve in the  
          areas in which they score poorly."  Likewise, the New Teacher  
          Project states "evaluations should provide all teachers with  
          regular feedback that helps them grow as professionals, no  
          matter how long they have been in the classroom.  The primary  
          purpose of evaluations should not be punitive.  Good evaluations  
          identify excellent teachers and help teachers of all skill  
          levels understand how they can improve." 

          Performance Bands: This bill requires the state prescribed  
          evaluation system to use three performance bands and the bottom  
          two levels are identified as: 








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          1)Require more development and growth to achieve a rating of  
            satisfactory or meeting standards, and who are required to  
            participate and receive appropriate additional support,  
            training, and assistance.
          2)Demonstrate unsatisfactory performance or conduct,  
            unsuccessfully participated in mandatory corrective action,  
            refused to participate in required additional support and  
            training, or are subject to mandatory reassignment,  
            suspension, or adverse action resulting from charges pursuant  
            to Article 3 (commencing with Section 44930) of Chapter 4.  
            This rating level shall be applicable to paragraph (5) of  
            subdivision (a) of Section 44932," which is unsatisfactory  
            performance in the dismissal process.
          The committee should consider whether the two bottom levels  
          specified in the bill are the most effective performance level  
          descriptors that should be used state-wide.

          Unsatisfactory Conduct: This bill uses a new term  
          "unsatisfactory conduct," which is not used in the current  
          evaluation or dismissal process. Although the bill states that  
          this rating level shall be applicable to the term  
          "unsatisfactory performance," it is unclear what this new term  
          means, how it relates to unprofessional conduct or how it is  
          "applicable" to unprofessional conduct. The existing dismissal  
          process refers to terms such as unsatisfactory performance,  
          unprofessional conduct and immoral conduct but does not use the  
          term unsatisfactory conduct.  The committee should consider  
          whether creating a new term could cause confusion in the  
          existing dismissal process and how the evaluation system aligns  
          to the dismissal process.

          It is also unclear whether an employee who is included in the  
          definition of unsatisfactory performance or conduct because they  
          were suspended or served with dismissal charges would be ranked  
          in the bottom ranking forever. It is unclear from the bill  
          language whether suspensions from 10 years ago would require an  
          employee to be designated "unsatisfactory performance or  
          conduct." The committee should consider whether this definition  
          is appropriate for the bottom ranking of the evaluation system. 








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          Peer Assistance and Review (PAR):  This bill specifies that  
          teachers who receive one of the two lowest ratings on their  
          evaluation (those requiring more development and those who  
          demonstrate unsatisfactory performance or conduct), if a school  
          district has a PAR program in place, they must refer those  
          teachers to the PAR program for improvement. The bill does not  
          specify the process if a teacher continues to receive  
          unsatisfactory evaluations after the PAR program is complete.   
          It is unclear whether school districts should begin dismissal  
          proceedings, or provide further instructional support for the  
          teacher.  
          
          Lengthening the Dismissal Process:  This bill requires that all  
          employees who receive an "unsatisfactory performance or conduct"  
          rating on the evaluation system to be referred to PAR, if the  
          district has a PAR program. Because the definition of  
          "unsatisfactory performance or conduct" includes suspension or  
          adverse action brought from dismissal charges, it appears that  
          this bill would require employees who have been served with  
          dismissal charges to be referred to PAR. This would lengthen the  
          dismissal process quite substantially and it is unclear whether  
          PAR is the appropriate type of intervention needed for an  
          employee who has been suspended or has had dismissal charges  
          brought against them.  

          Parent and Student Surveys: This bill authorizes the use of  
          surveys from parents and pupils in certificated employee  
          evaluations, if approved in advance by the employee.  The  
          committee should consider whether it is appropriate to include  
          surveys from parents and students in certificated employee  
          evaluations. The committee should consider whether it is  
          possible for a particularly "tough" teacher that assigns robust  
          homework to receive negative survey comments, when they are a  
          very effective teacher and how this would impact the overall  
          evaluation of that teacher. Likewise, if an administrator  
          recently suspended students, could their surveys from parents  
          and students be skewed?









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          Professional Development:  This bill requires districts, when  
          assisting teachers determined to be in need of improvement, to  
          consider the employees eligibility for professional development  
          (PD) in the district's LCAP and prioritize the employees  
          eligibility for PD funded in the Budget Act. This includes PD in  
          the state academic content standards adopted by the SBE, and  
          training on services to English learners to access the common  
          core academic content standards and the English language  
          development (ELD) standards.  The committee should consider  
          whether prioritizing specific types of PD that is funded in the  
          Budget act is the most efficient way to improve educational  
          practice for all struggling teachers. For example, if a teacher  
          needs assistance with classroom management, would training  
          related to the academic content standards and ELD standards be  
          the highest priority for this teacher?



          Charter Schools: This bill requires all traditional public  
          schools in the state to adopt the changes to the teacher  
          evaluation system, but the committee should note that the Stull  
          Act and the changes made in this bill do not apply to charter  
          schools.  The committee should consider whether charter schools  
          teachers should be left out of this opportunity for evaluations  
          and support.

          Arguments in Support: EdVoice supports the bill and states, "AB  
          1495 requires at least three rating levels and de-links the  
          simply "needs more development" rating level from the  
          "unsatisfactory" level that could lead to adverse action. And,  
          in requiring two rating bands below "satisfactory," AB 1495  
          helps provide opportunity to more carefully identify struggling  
          employees and offer appropriate remedial development and  
          assistance, including professional development already  
          identified in a district's LCAP, without fear of adverse action  
          and possible dismissal. AB 1495 also establishes priority  
          eligibility for support from professional development resources  
          appropriated in the annual state Budget Act, thereby connecting  
          local evaluation system outcomes with available resources in a  








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          meaningful way to support employees who can benefit the most  
          from professional growth to become truly effective educators and  
          support the academic achievement of all of their students."



          Arguments in Opposition: California Teachers Association opposes  
          the bill and states, "CTA believes a mutually designed  
          comprehensive ongoing personnel evaluation system with  
          procedural guarantees and due process in every school system  
          should be supported.  Evaluations should provide all teachers  
          with regular feedback that helps them grow as professionals, no  
          matter how long they have been in the classroom.  Evaluations  
          should give schools the information they need to build the  
          strongest possible instructional teams, and help districts hold  
          school leaders accountable for supporting each teacher's  
          development.  Most importantly, they should focus everyone in a  
          school system, from teachers to the superintendent, on what  
          matters most: keeping every student on track to graduate from  
          high school ready for success in college or a career....AB 1495  
          (Weber) proposes changes to the Stull Act which do not address  
          these complex issues."

          Related Legislation:  AB 575 (O'Donnell & Atkins) from 2015,  
          which is pending in the Assembly, would require the governing  
          board of each school district and the governing body of each  
          charter school to adopt and implement a best practices teacher  
          and administrator evaluation system by July 1, 2018.  


          AB 1078 (Olsen) from 2015, which is pending in the Assembly,  
          would make changes to the certificated employee evaluation  
          system, known as the Stull Act.  


          SB 499 (Liu & DeLeon) from 2015, which is pending in the Senate,  
          would require the governing board of each school district to  
          adopt and implement a best practices teacher and administrator  
          evaluation system by July 1, 2016.  








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          AB 430 (Olsen) from 2013, which was held by the author in the  
          Assembly Education Committee, would have established the Teacher  
          Professional Growth Plan, as specified.  


          AB 5 (Fuentes) from 2009, which was held by the author on the  
          Senate Floor, would have required the governing board of each  
          school district to adopt and implement a best practices teacher  
          evaluation system, as specified.


          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:




          Support


          CalChamber


          Children Now


          Educators 4 Excellence


          EdVoice


          Students Matter


          StudentsFirst










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          Teach Plus




          Opposition


          California Teachers Association




          Analysis Prepared by:Chelsea Kelley / ED. / (916) 319-2087