Four Texas teachers associations on Thursday settled lawsuits with the state’s education commissioner over an evaluation system that ties teacher appraisals to student scores on state-mandated exams.
In April 2016, the groups, which include the Texas State Teachers Association and the Texas American Federation of Teachers, filed separate lawsuits to block the Texas Education Agency and Education Commissioner Mike Morath from putting the state evaluation system in place. The evaluation method called for at least 20 percent of the teachers’ evaluation to be based on student STAAR results.
According to the groups, Morath will remove that requirement, giving districts flexibility in how they measure student performance and incorporate it into teacher appraisals.
“This successful resolution of our lawsuit is a vindication for teachers who have argued against the use of state assessment data in their evaluations,” said Louis Malfaro, Texas American Federation of Teachers president. “It is also a victory for school districts that want to develop meaningful tools to appraise and support teachers. Local school districts, working in collaboration with their teachers and staff, now have a clear path to develop meaningful teacher evaluation systems that support good teaching rather than reinforce a broken system of over-testing and over-reliance on standardized tests.”
The Austin school district adopted its own appraisal system that limits the use of state-mandated test results. Ten percent of a teacher’s evaluation is based on campuswide standardized reading and math scores.
In a statement, Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath emphasized that teachers will continue to be appraised based on the growth of their students, and that it’s important that districts have flexibility in how they will measure that.
“The profession of teaching is incredibly demanding,” Morath said. “It requires dedication and energy, but it also requires a commitment to continuously learn and adjust.”