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Texas Teacher Wins Lawsuit on Wrongful Termination

| 6 Comments

A Texas education commissioner has ruled in favor of a dismissed Dallas teacher, who says she was fired because of an unfair rating based on student test scores, according to The Dallas Morning News.

Sharon Toussaint, a math teacher at low-scoring Kimball High School, was terminated when the school’s faculty was reconstituted last year. Toussaint claimed the reason she was let go was because of a low Classroom Effectiveness Index rating, a formula-based system that determines teachers’ success in the classroom. Robert Scott, a Texas Education Agency commissioner, ruled on Tuesday that the rating did not take all conditions into account and that Toussaint’s district must reinstate her with back pay or pay a settlement of one year’s salary.

Although the CEI ratings are supposed to hold teachers blameless for student variables like ethnicity, language skills, and family income when producing ratings, Scott said that it was the school environment, and not Toussaint, that caused a lack of student achievement among her students. The Texas AFT published an excerpt of Scott’s written opinion:

The reason given for proposed termination was the failure of [Toussaint] to demonstrate a pattern of academic achievement by her students. The Findings of Fact establish that the school's environment not [Toussaint] was the cause of the lack of achievement. Because [Toussaint's] actions as a teacher are not found wanting, good cause does not exist to terminate [Toussaint's] contract.
6 Comments

Good for this person! Sometimes the lack of student achievement is due to (gasp) the students themselves.

The only failure here is the failure of the Dallas ISD to reinstate this teacher with an apology.

The only failure here is the failure of the Dallas ISD to reinstate this teacher with an apology.

Finally!!!Teachers have taken the blame for Eveything for too long. To say nothing is the student's fault is SO Ridiculous!

I am so happy that this teacher got justice. I am sorry, but for some teachers, no matter what they do, they still have students that will not do the work and could not care less. A teacher should not be penalized for students performing poorly. On the other hand, if the teacher is reading the paper in class everyday and checking her MySpace page instead of teaching, then he/she should definitely get the boot. That wasn't the case here, and I am glad that this teacher took a stand.

I am wondering if this decision may be the first chink in the armor when it comes to closing entire schools due to low student test scores. The schools my district has closed for lack of student achievement, i.e., low standardized test scores--and I think we're up to about thirty now--are without exception the most impacted by poverty, second-language learners, and marginal parental support. Seems that the logic applied to this individual teacher's situation would apply more broadly to any situation where factors outside a teacher's control influence outcomes such as test scores.

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Recent Comments

  • Dr. K: I am wondering if this decision may be the first read more
  • theteacherchron: I am so happy that this teacher got justice. I read more
  • Diane: Finally!!!Teachers have taken the blame for Eveything for too long. read more
  • John O'Sullivan: The only failure here is the failure of the Dallas read more
  • John O'Sullivan: The only failure here is the failure of the Dallas read more

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