The United Teachers of Los Angeles has steadfastly refused to allow its members to be evaluated by the test scores of their students. Unlike the district leadership, UTLA understands that scholars have found that value-added assessment is inaccurate, invalid and unstable. By this method, excellent teachers may be labeled “ineffective,” and poor teachers who teach to the test may be labeled “effective.”

Despite intense pressure by the Los Angeles Unified School District leadership and the federal government, UTLA has insisted that its members should be evaluated by evidence-based methods, not by “value-added assessment” that has not been proven to work anywhere.

UTLA refused to sign off on the district’s request for $40 million in Race to the Top funding, which would have subjected its members to value-added assessment.

UTLA recognizes that accepting $40 million for RTTT would eventually cost the district hundreds of millions of dollars to comply with the federal government’s mandates. This has been the experience of other districts, where teachers have been laid off and class sizes have increased solely because of compliance with RTTT requirements.

Because it has remained true to principle, because it insists on evidence-based evaluation, because it insists on honest accounting for the public’s dollars, UTLA is a hero of public education and joins the honor roll.