Los Angeles school officials Thursday dropped a demand that teachers at seven low-performing schools sign forms committing themselves to academic reforms intended to raise test scores.
At three other campuses, however, teachers will still have to sign the document and abide by a strict dress code.
The signings, which provoked sharp protests, were going to be a requirement for teachers to remain at all 10 campuses. Some teachers likened the forms to insulting loyalty oaths and refused to sign.
But Supt. Roy Romer, concerned that resistance could derail reforms at the schools, backed off the plan at seven campuses.
"To improve these schools, we need everyone involved," Romer told a news conference Thursday. "We're not trying to get on the backs of teachers."
The forms were proposed earlier this year as one of several measures to reinvigorate the campuses, which were singled out by state officials for poor performance, low expectations and weak leadership.
Although excused from the signings, teachers at these schools still must attend extra training and abide by new educational methods. Those schools are Gompers and Sun Valley middle schools and Fremont, Jefferson, Locke, Roosevelt and Wilson high schools.
Leaders of the Los Angeles teachers union applauded the district's decision but complained that teachers at the three other targeted campuses will still have to sign the commitment forms.
Those three schools--Avalon Gardens Elementary, and Mount Vernon and Mann middle schools--have been placed in a separate reform program that provides extensive resources--including four weeks of annual training--in exchange for teachers agreeing in writing to the changes at their schools, including dress codes banning jeans and requiring ties for males and stockings for women.
"The district is going to force good people out of those schools," said John Perez, president-elect of United Teachers-Los Angeles. "What goes on between a teacher and a student is more important than whether a teacher wears hose or a tie."
Teachers at the three schools who refuse to sign the forms will be allowed to transfer to other district campuses, officials said.
The teachers union was planning demonstrations at all 10 schools today to protest what its leaders said is the district's condescending attitude toward members.
"These teachers have been treated like tall children rather than professionals," Perez said.