Florida’s new teacher evaluation system is arguably unfair but it is not unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled today, as he dismissed the claims made by seven teachers and their union.
The case was the Florida Education Association’s second legal attempt to halt implementation of Florida’s controversial 2011 teacher merit pay law.
The teachers union filed the federal lawsuit last year, arguing the merit-pay law — and the new evaluation system it ushered in — violated the U.S. Constitution.
U.S. District Judge Mark Walker wrote in his order today that it did not. But, he added, “The unfairness of the evaluation system as implemented is not lost on the Court.”
He agreed with the teachers and the union that the system — which relies partly on student test-score data to judge teacher quality — was not used in the same way for all teachers. And that unfairness was heightened because the Florida Legislature required that results from the evaluation be used to make key “pay, promotion, assignment and retention” decisions for teachers.
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