Teacher Evaluation Ruling In Florida Won’t Affect Tennessee Lawsuits, Teachers’ Union Says

The Tennessee Educators Association has already filed two lawsuits similar to the one ruled on in Florida. Credit: Alec Couros via Flickr

The Tennessee Educators Association has already filed two lawsuits similar to the one ruled on in Florida. Credit: Alec Couros via Flickr

A federal judge had scathing words for the teacher evaluation system in Florida, saying that the court would be “hard-pressed to find anyone who would find [it] fair” to certain teachers — but he decided that, technically, it’s legal.

The case was looking at whether Florida schools could tie some teacher salaries to test scores of students that they didn’t actually teach.

The ruling of unfair-but-legal wasn’t necessarily welcome news to the Tennessee Education Association. The teachers’ union filed two lawsuits in March over the way test scores were used in certain evaluations. But executive director Carolyn Crowder says their cases are different from the one in Florida.

“This decision is disappointing in what we understand about this lawsuit, but this decision does not directly affect the two lawsuits that we have filed.”

One of the Tennessee lawsuits says an eighth-grade science teacher was denied a bonus because his evaluation was based on just a small number of his 142 students. The other lawsuit alleges a Knoxville teacher was misled about how she would be evaluated.

The union has indicated that these lawsuits are the first of many to come in the state.

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