HOUSTON – A Harris County judge granted a temporary restraining order against the Houston Independent School District’s new teacher evaluation system Thursday.
The action comes from a lawsuit filed Wednesday by the Houston Federation of Teachers contending that the new evaluation system was “created and implemented illegally.”
According to the lawsuit, the district allegedly violated the Texas Education Code requirements because they did not ask for teachers’ and other staff members’ opinions as they developed the new teacher evaluation system.
“Injunction relief is necessary in this matter because if not granted, teachers will be appraised this current school year and have those appraisals used by HISD to make high-stakes employment decisions under an illegally developed appraisal system,” the suit stated.
According to the suit, Mike Miles proposed, and the board of managers approved, a new local appraisal system, known as Policy DNA. Through its adoption, they scrapped the T-TESS appraisal system, along with its established processes and criteria for measuring teacher performance.
“Superintendent Miles has grossly and illegally expanded both his power and that of the appointed school board. He is refusing to follow the law by shutting out the voices of teachers, parents, students and other community members and punishing educators in the name of streamlining the district,” HFT President Jackie Anderson is quoted saying in a news release. “This is autocratic, not democratic or even legal. We will not stand by and allow him to run roughshod over this district and destroy all the progress this community has made without a fight.”
Anderson said that if educators and others had the opportunity to be involved in the creation of a new evaluation system, they would have demanded an itemization of the things on which they would be evaluated.
“Now, it’ll be based on who knows what and can be purely subjective. This is just not right or fair,” she said.