In a huge ruling out of the United States District Court in Gainesville today, the powerful statewide teacher's union, FEA, and their home office national union, NEA, were defeated; The issue was the use of student test scores in teacher evaluations.
Any and all rational humans know that basing a teacher's entire evaluation on student test scores is stupid and an inaccurate measurement of teacher effectiveness. However, having year over year student learning gains factored into and made a part of the evaluation makes sense--- and it is the law under Florida's student success act.
The unions tried to sue our district (and several others) over this, however a coalition of school board attorneys successfully argued that following state mandates does not make us guilty of violating teachers' rights.
from the Judge's ruling:
"This case, however, is not about the fairness of the evaluation system. The standard of review is not whether the evaluation policies are good or bad, wise or unwise; but whether the evaluation policies are rational within the meaning of the law. The legal standard for invalidating legislative acts on substantive due process and equal protection grounds looks only to whether there is a conceivable rational basis to support them. For reasons that have been explained, the State Defendants could
rationally conclude that the evaluation policies further the state’s legitimate interest in increasing student learning growth. The same can be said of the District Defendants. Although they have not contested Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and have not moved for summary judgment in their own right, they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law for the same reasons that summary judgment is granted for the State Defendants.
For these reasons,
IT IS ORDERED:
1. The State Defendants’ motion for summary judgment, ECF No. 84, is GRANTED.
2. Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment, ECF No. 86, is DENIED.
3. The Clerk shall enter judgment in favor of all Defendants against Plaintiffs on Counts One, Two, Six, and Seven, which have been dismissed, see ECF No. 111; and on Counts Three, Four, Five, Eight, Nine, and Ten, on which summary judgment has been granted.
4. This Court declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining state law claim in Count Eleven.
SO ORDERED on May 6, 2014. "