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Another FEA Victory: Administrative Judge Tosses DOE Rule on Evaluations
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Another FEA Victory: Administrative Judge Tosses DOE Rule on Evaluations

Yesterday, the Florida Education Association (FEA) dealt another blow to a key component of SB-736 when an administrative law judge invalidated the SB-736 performance evaluation rule the State Board of Education was imposing upon Florida school districts, teachers and administrators.

Judge John G. Van Laningham found that the State Board of Education and Department of Education had not followed proper procedures in trying to incorporate into the evaluation process a mathematical formula for calculating the effect of FCAT scores on teacher evaluations.

The judge concluded that the state’s numerous failures to follow correct rulemaking procedures were so significant as to “taint” the resulting rule, and that the flaws “cannot be cured without starting over and redoing the process.”

“This is a huge victory in our battle for fair, reliable and valid evaluations,” said FEA President Andy Ford. “The State Board of Education and the Department of Education skirted rule-making procedures and exceeded the scope of their authority. It’s time for the state’s education bureaucracy to stop trying to impose its will on teachers and administrators and start having a meaningful dialogue with us to put together a fair evaluation system that is understandable, valid and accepted.”

This decision does not mean that teachers’ 2011-12 performance evaluations are invalid under the bargained evaluation systems already approved by the DOE for Race to the Top purposes, nor does it erase the statutory requirement to rely upon the education commissioner’s approved model to measure student learning gains as part of the 2011-12 evaluation process. It does mean that none of the proposed, mandatory 2012-2013 evaluation system changes will become effective at this time.

USEP President Lynne Webb and Chief Negotiator Jim Ciadella will be attending a special FEA meeting tomorrow to review the implications of this victory for Pasco’s negotiated evaluation system for last year and the current negotiations.

Our union members pay the dues that support these expensive and lengthy legal challenges.  If you are not already a member, please join us as we continue the good fight!  If you are a member, thank you, and be proud!!!!

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If you are an employee of Pasco County Schools and not already a member of USEP, consider joining today! Members are eligible for a wide range of benefits through our affiliates and benefit partners. USEP also provides members with professional development opportunities and representation for member issues.