The Houston ISD board of managers adopted a state-approved teacher evaluation system at their Sept. 7 board workshop, reversing course from a previously adopted evaluation system that resulted in a lawsuit against the district.

The background

The Texas Education Agency ousted former HISD Superintendent Millard House II and its elected board of trustees in June, replacing them with a board of managers and Superintendent Mike Miles to help improve the district’s accountability ratings and board governance.

In August, Miles unveiled a new teacher evaluation system that would have eventually been used to determine teachers’ employment statuses and salaries.

In response, the Houston Federation of Teachers filed a lawsuit Aug. 30 against Miles and the board of managers, alleging the evaluation system was approved in violation of the Texas Education Code because the district allegedly did not ask for input from teachers and other staff members.

A Harris County judge issued a temporary restraining order against HISD on Aug. 31, blocking the district from implementing the system until at least a Sept. 11 temporary injunction hearing.

Why it matters

During the Sept. 7 meeting, Miles said the district was adopting the state-approved teacher evaluation system in response to the temporary injunction.

“You have to have an evaluation system, and the one we tried to create has been enjoined,” Miles said. “In the meantime, we have to do something, so we're going to use the [Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System] that the state created.”

It remains unclear whether officials will revert back to the previously approved system if the district prevails in the lawsuit. HISD officials could not be reached for comment following the meeting.

Jackie Anderson, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers, spoke on the matter during the public comments portion of the meeting.

“Teachers have never complained about being evaluated,” Anderson said. “They only asked to be evaluated from an assessment that has been developed to be fair, in compliance with the law and in consultation with teachers.”

What’s next

A temporary injunction hearing is scheduled for Sept. 11. If the temporary injunction is granted, the lawsuit will move to trial, and the district will be barred from implementing its evaluation system until a final decision is made.