In a news release from the San Diego County Grand Jury, the advisory panel says teacher evaluations in San Diego County are almost entirely controlled by unions or teachers' associations whose leaders draft the contracts between teachers and their school districts. The contracts spell out how and when a teacher is evaluated, what guidelines to use, and what criteria to avoid.

The grand jury report says state law specifies that teachers' evaluations include some measure of student progress, but many contracts specifically prohibit consideration of student progress as an evaluation criterion.\

The report says that while teachers themselves value mentoring, supportive leadership and time to collaborate higher than monetary rewards, the current evaluation system does not give teachers an incentive to achieve a higher standard of teaching. The highest ranking they can achieve is "satisfactory." On their own, many teachers are seeking to achieve excellence in teaching through peer mentoring, and relatively new tools such as Instructional Leadership Teams, and Professional Learning Communities.

The grand jury recommends that all school districts in the county proactively develop evaluation guidelines over and above the unions' guidelines, and to develop a system to measure the effects of teacher evaluations on student performance.

The complete report can be found on the Grand Jury’s website: