Houston teachers file lawsuit, challenging 'value added' evaluation system

A group of Houston teachers and the teachers union have filed a federal lawsuit
May 2, 2014 1:27:32 AM PDT
A group of Houston teachers and the teachers union have filed a federal lawsuit, challenging what's known as the "value added" evaluation system.

"Unfortunately, due to this broken model system, I've been pigeon-holed," said Jackson Middle School teacher Daniel Santos. "And I've been made a caricature, ineffective teacher, simply because scores do not rise."

Santos is one of seven HISD educators now suing the school district in federal court. The group and its union are calling the district's new and controversial teacher evaluation system -- called the Education Value-Added Assessment System, or EVAAS -- flawed and unconstitutional.

The teachers at the center of the lawsuit claim the EVAAS system uses a rigged formula to gauge a student's performance on prior standardized tests and their suggested academic growth in the current year based on the instructor's effectiveness.

The teachers involved in the case claim they were all accomplished instructors, but recent scores in the so-called 'mysterious statistical formula' determined them ineffective, without considering other factors like students' environment and life outside of school.

Myla van Duyn is another teacher in the lawsuit.

"I am doing this because the EVAAS system targets students and teachers who have unfortunately, by the whims of HISD and the state of Texas, wound up in a class that is evaluated by EVAAS and in a high-poverty school and it is therefore causing teachers that are dedicated to the school community to leave as they don't need to work for HISD either or in that position," said van Duyn.

Representatives from teachers unions from across the state and country say they'll be keeping a close eye on his this controversial performance evaluation matter as it plays out in court.

When reached for comment, HISD told us they don't comment on pending litigation.


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