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Districts Defend Teacher Evaluations From Challenge

  • September 20, 2016

September 20, 2016

On September 19, a Northern California Superior Court rejected a challenge to the teacher evaluation procedures of 13 school districts.  Plaintiffs in Doe v. Antioch Unified School District argued that the school districts failed to properly use student test data in teacher evaluations and, thus, failed to comply with the Stull Act.  The school districts, including districts represented by DWK attorneys, countered that local school districts had discretion to determine how to evaluate teachers and that their integration of test data—albeit not in the form urged by plaintiffs— complied with the law.

The Superior Court agreed with the school districts.  It concluded that the Stull Act’s requirement to “evaluate and assess certificated employee performance as it reasonably relates to … state adopted criterion referenced assessments” did not mean, as plaintiffs urged, that school districts were required to “evaluate a teacher in a ‘summative assessment with consequences’ based on her pupil’s performance on standardized tests.”

The Superior Court reasoned that the statute’s use of the phrase “reasonably relates” gives school districts “discretion to determine what is reasonable in this complex situation.”  As the evidence indicated that the school districts did not “ignore” the test results, but used them in a way each “judge[d] to be reasonably appropriate,” the school districts complied with the terms of the Stull Act.

A copy of the Superior Court’s order can be found here. For more information about this case, or any other questions, please contact a DWK attorney.

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