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Spurred By Lawsuit, Fla. Tweaks Teacher-Evaluation Requirements

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has signed into law a bill that, among other things, makes a significant change to the state's teacher-evaluation system, a move seemingly prompted by a National Education Association lawsuit.

The NEA lawsuit, filed in April, stated that districts, with state approval, were evaluating teachers based on the results of students they hadn't taught or in subjects they don't instruct. The new bill states that the student-achievement portion must be based on the results of the teacher's students.

"Common sense prevails in Florida," NEA President Dennis Van Roekel said in a statement. "This is a key victory for the ever-growing chorus calling foul on flawed tests and error-ridden assessment systems used to make decisions about students' and teachers' futures."

The new law doesn't address all of the factors that the NEA wanted to see fixed. For example, it doesn't address the issue of a teacher's subject assignment. It still isn't clear what measures would be used to evaluate teachers in "nontested" grades and subjects. And finally, it doesn't cancel out the last two years of evaluation results carried out under the previous evaluations.

So for now, the union will continue to pursue remedies through litigation.

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