Mayor Villaraigosa was joined today by LAUSD Deputy Superintendent John Deasy, Board Member Yolie Flores, lawyers from the ACLU-SC, Public Counsel, and Morrison & Foerster, LLP, as well as teachers from Gompers Middle School to discuss the details of the settlement agreement in Reed v. State of California, et al., a class action suit that claimed the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights to a quality education was being violated by the disproportionate impact of teacher layoff at their schools. The Mayor’s Partnership for Los Angeles Schools brought this problem to the attention of the ACLU/SC and Public Counsel, who assembled a legal team and filed suit on behalf on the affected students and their families.
“I created the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools not only to turn around our District’s lowest-performing schools, but also to be a catalyst for system-wide change,” said Mayor Villaraigosa. “When I saw our most vulnerable schools in our most impoverished communities losing up to two-thirds of their teachers, I knew that I had to stand up and fight. Today, we can claim a civil rights victory and it’s a victory that resonates across the country. This settlement is proof that we are willing to acknowledge problems and tackle them head on. This is about fairness and equality, and when it comes to guaranteeing that for our child
The approved settlement will fully protect up to 45 Targeted Schools in the event of layoffs. The Targeted Schools include 25 underperforming and difficult-to-staff schools that have suffered from staff retention issues and that have demonstrated growth over time based upon several measures of school-wide teacher performance and overall academic growth. In addition, up to 20 new schools will be selected based on the likelihood that the school will be negatively and disproportionately affected by teacher turnover. The schools that make up the Targeted Schools will vary over time based on retention and performance data. This settlement also protects schools throughout the LAUSD by ensuring that no school is impacted by layoffs at a rate greater than the District average.
“This settlement agreement is historic in so many ways,” said LAUSD Deputy Superintendent John Deasy. “We have assured the rights of youth, especially our most vulnerable youth and have limited the impact of RIFs across our entire school system. Further we are now beginning the long needed reform to our antiquated approach to dealing with critical budget reductions. It is my hope that we will not need to implement these reforms because California will honor is basic obligation to fund schools better than prisons.”
The agreement also includes a number of other reform-minded components directed at the targeted schools, with the aim of retaining teachers in schools that traditionally have high teacher turnover to improve the overall growth and success on those campuses. The settlement implements an intervention program for targeted schools that includes teacher effectiveness provisions, a collaborative effort to fill teacher vacancies as quickly as possible (including those that occur mid-year), retention incentives — including financial bonuses — for teachers who remain at a targeted school beyond a certain number of years, plus further incentives if that school experiences growth as measured by the school’s value-added score. Similar incentives are structured for principal retention.
“This is a proud moment for our Board of Education,” said Board Member Yolie Flores. “We have signaled, once again, our commitment to putting the interest of children first. The ACLU lawsuit effectively created the conditions for us to challenge the rules that historically have not served students well and that instead protect the interests of adults. For this we are grateful.”