Published Online: May 6, 2014
Published in Print: May 7, 2014, as Houston Teachers Sue District Over 'Value Added'

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Houston Teachers Sue District Over 'Value Added'

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The Houston Federation of Teachers has filed a federal lawsuit against the 203,000-student district, claiming that its "value added" approach to teacher evaluation violates teachers' constitutional rights.

It is at least the third suit filed over such systems, on the heels of similar ones in Tennessee and Florida.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. district court, says that the standard for what constitutes enough student growth under the system is vague; that the value-added method chosen is proprietary and therefore opaque; and that certain groups of teachers—such as those who teach English-language learners—are at risk of lower scores.

The suit claims that some of the plaintiffs were highly respected and have received special recognition for teaching, but were placed on improvement plans after the evaluation results came out.

Vol. 33, Issue 30, Page 4

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