Teacher Evaluation Heads to the Courts
The policy frenzy to establish new methods for evaluating teachers over the past few years has led to an unintended byproduct: lots of litigation.
The American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, as well as their affiliates, have been busily filing lawsuits challenging aspects of the systems in both federal and state courts. The unions’ strategies are diverse, hinging on both procedural and substantive complaints.
Some of the lawsuits challenge how the new systems were put into place, as in New Mexico and Louisiana.
Unions in Tennessee and Florida have contested key grading components, particularly the use of student test scores to judge all teachers. And in New York, the unions question the system’s baseline fairness, saying it doesn’t adequately account for variations in student poverty.
Still other lawsuits have taken aim not at teacher evaluation itself, but at related matters like tenure, as in Nevada.
How these cases play out may determine the course and sustainability of evaluation changes in the coming years. This guide provides a breakdown of the cases and updates on their statuses.
Reporting: Stephen Sawchuk (@Stephen_Sawchuk) | Library Intern Maya Riser-Kositsky provided research assistance. | Design & Visualization: Stacey Decker
A version of this article appeared in the October 08, 2015 edition of Education Week