The Houston Federation of Teachers filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Houston ISD Superintendent Mike Miles and the appointed board of managers, arguing that Miles’ new teacher evaluation system violates state laws which dictate that appraisals must be developed in conjunction with school committees.
The lawsuit seeks a temporary restraining order which would stop the district from implementing the evaluations, which would eventually be used to inform Miles’ pay-for-performance initiative. Miles has said that the evaluations will have no immediate bearing on teacher pay because the district first wants to evaluate their principals, but that next year’s teacher appraisals would determine how much educators are paid moving forward.
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The lawsuit argues that Miles’ and the board developed the evaluations in violation of the Texas Education Code, which states that teacher appraisals must be “developed by the district- and campus-level committees,” among other things. Chris Tritico, an attorney for the Houston teachers union, said that schools’ Shared Decision Making Committees (SDMCs) were never consulted.
“Their policy now has deleted all of that, and allowed Mike Miles to develop a system on his own, in secret, and that’s a violation of state law,” Tritico said.
Miles disputed the allegation, saying that his evaluation system did solicit input from SDMCs and that he asked principals to talk to “teacher leaders” about it.
“We asked community members, we asked teachers, we asked administrators and we asked a SDMC about it, so that sounds like input to me,” Miles said.
The union has planned a press conference for Thursday morning to share more details about the suit.
This story will be updated.