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LAUSD, ACLU Sidestep The Teacher's Union To Gain Reform

Helen Tobin |
October 14, 2010 | 10:40 a.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa supports the settlement (Creative Commons)
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa supports the settlement (Creative Commons)
A settlement agreement could alter the Los Angeles Unified School District's entire layoff policy and institute new incentives for higher performing instructors, all without permission from the United Teachers Los Angeles union. 

The tentative pact would require layoffs to occur at about the same rate at schools throughout the district. This would change the district’s “last hired-first fired” policy as less experienced teachers at some campuses would be spared at the expense of veteran educators at other schools. Up to 45 schools could also avoid layoffs entirely through demonstrated academic growth.

Additionally, the settlement could allow the district to begin evaluating and paying more to administrators and teachers based on standardized test scores.  

The policy to make test scores-rather than seniority-a factor in layoffs is one that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said he lobbied school board members to support, even though the teachers union opposed it. Villaraigosa previously worked for the teachers union. 

“I think it’s the wrong solution,” UTLA President A.J. Duffy said after the settlement was announced, “It’s not going to deal with the problems of teacher turnovers.” 

Duffy and the UTLA are considering formal legal action to stop the settlement after they claimed to be left entirely out of discussions over the new policies that would affect their teachers.  

“UTLA and our attorneys will be meeting with the parties and the court in the next few weeks to review the terms of the agreement,” the union wrote in a statement, “If necessary, UTLA will formally oppose the formal settlement.”

Board members, Deputy Supt. John Deasy, and Villaraigosa’s nonprofit Partnership for Los Angeles Schools worked with the ACLU to develop these fundamental changes for the nation’s second largest school district, leading to a UTLA claim that they were left out. 

The district’s attorneys disagree with the claim that UTLA was not kept informed about the progress of the talks among the parties.  

Earlier this year a lawsuit was filed against LAUSD as a way to stop layoffs at three of the district's lowest performing schools, which began the consideration of the new settlement. 

The settlement is scheduled to be discussed in court Thursday afternoon.  



Reach reporter Helen Tobin here. Follow her on Twitter, @HelenTobin.



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