HOUSTON – During a Houston Independent School District board meeting last week, Superintendent Mike Miles said the district has decided to implement the state-approved T-TESS Evaluation System rather than a new teacher evaluation system.
The decision comes after the Houston Federation of Teachers filed a lawsuit on Aug. 30, contending that the new evaluation system was “created and implemented illegally.” On Aug. 31, a Harris County judge granted a temporary restraining order against HISD’s new evaluation system.
The new system, which is called Policy DNA, was expected to replace the T-TESS system. The Texas Education Code states district and campus committees should share their input about these kinds of changes, but HFT said this did not happen.
The code also requires that the appraisal systems inform teachers of how their performance will be measured, and this is created using factors that can be observed. This includes how teachers manage discipline or student performance.
T-TESS -- short for Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System -- was created by the Texas Education Agency and focuses on how students respond to their teacher’s instructional practices. According to its own website, the system “(is) a process that seeks to develop continuous improvement, and the process itself best leads to that outcome when appraisers and teachers focus on evidence-based feedback and professional development decisions based on that feedback through ongoing dialogue and collaboration.”
It’s unclear whether officials will revert back to the previously approved system if the district prevails in the lawsuit.
A temporary injunction hearing is scheduled for Sept. 11. If the temporary injunction is granted, the lawsuit will move to trial, and the district will be barred from implementing its evaluation system until a final decision is made.