Teaching Profession

New Resource: When Teacher Evaluation Hits the Courts

By Stephen Sawchuk — October 09, 2015 1 min read

From about 2009 on, state after state rushed to put new ways of grading teachers on the books, thanks to federal incentives like the Race to the Top grant program.

Many teachers have been pretty stressed out about the evaluation systems, particularly when it comes to linking their ratings to standardized test scores. And the teachers’ unions are responding via lawsuits, raising these important questions: Will courts look favorably on these new systems? What will the outcomes of these cases mean for teacher-evaluation reform over the next few years?

For this week’s edition of Education Week, to help readers keep track, I put together a resource on the more than a dozen lawsuits that have been filed seeking to overturn the systems. Some of the suits have been filed in state courts, other in federal courts, mainly on constitutional grounds that the systems violate equal-protection guarantees. Many are still cranking through the legal system.

We’ll do our best to keep the chart updated for you. In the meantime, please send me an email if you hear of any other imminent lawsuits, so we can include them.

(Wondering why teacher evaluation has become such a hot topic, what criteria teachers are being evaluted on, and what some of teachers’ concerns are? Education Week has got a great backgrounder for you.)

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.