KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) – The Tennessee Education Association (TEA) has filed its second lawsuit against the use of Tennessee Value Added Assessment System (TVAAS) estimates in high-stakes salary decisions.
The federal lawsuit names Governor Bill Haslam, Commissioner of Education Kevin Huffman and the Knox County Board of Education as defendants.
“This second lawsuit includes the governor and commissioner because this really is a state issue,” said Gera Summerford, TEA president.
Summerford says the TEA filed suit because state policy has led schools to rely too heavily on evaluation for "high-stakes decisions" for teachers. The TEA contends evaluations don't accurately measure teacher classroom effectiveness.
TEA’s lawsuit was filed on behalf of Knox County teacher Mark Taylor, an eighth grade science teacher at Farragut Middle School.
Taylor says he was unfairly denied an APEX bonus after his TVAAS estimate was based on standardized test scores of only 22 of his 142 students. The lawsuit claims that Taylor's high-performing students were not included in Taylor's evaluation scores.
This second lawsuit includes six counts against the governor, commissioner and local school board.
The TEA also charges that the state violated Taylor's 14th Amendment right to equal protection from "irrational state-imposed classifications."
This marks the second lawsuit filed on behalf of Knox County teachers; the first was filed for Knox County teacher Lisa Trout regarding achievements as well.
TEA expects additional lawsuits to be filed so long as the state continues to tie more and more high-stakes decisions to TVAAS estimates.