Judge Says Florida Teacher Evaluations Are Unfair, But Constitutional

May 7, 2014

Florida teachers are being evaluated on the performance of students in other classrooms.
Credit cooldesign/freedigitaldownloads.net

Florida teachers and education groups sued over a change in state law that enables districts to tie evaluations to student performance. A federal judge says the state’s way of evaluating teachers is constitutional.

The law was passed in 2011. It allows some teachers to be evaluated based on test scores of students who aren’t in their class.  They can also be judged based on test results in subject areas they don't even teach.

Starting next year, their pay will be impacted.

The Florida Education Association is among the groups that sued. They argued that the law takes away a teacher’s right to due process and equal-protection under the Constitution.

U.S. District Judge Mark Walker said his ruling was based solely on whether the evaluation system is constitutional.

He noted that the system is supposed to measure the individual effectiveness of each teacher, but the standards for evaluation differ significantly and are unfair.

The teachers union says it’s considering further legal action.

News Service of Florida contributed to this report.