Tennessee Education Association

Great Public Schools for All Students


TEA Challenges Constitutionality of TVAAS in Evaluations

TEA held a news conference today, Thursday, Feb. 5, to announce the filing of a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the state's use of TVAAS in teacher evaluations. The news release below was  issued statewide following the news conference.

NEA also issued a statement in support of the lawsuit. Click here to read the statement from NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia.

Sign the petition now to support TEA's legal against the use of TVAAS and the association's legislative proposal to hold all teachers harmless during the transition to a new state test. 

Click here to read the full lawsuit.



NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Education Association, with support from the National Education Association, has filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the state’s use of TVAAS estimates in teacher evaluations.

More than half of the public school teachers in Tennessee receive evaluations that are based substantially on standardized test scores of students in subjects they do not teach. The lawsuit seeks relief for those teachers from the arbitrary and irrational practice of measuring their effectiveness with statistical estimates based on standardized test scores from students they do not teach and may have never met. 

“TEA has been pushing back against the inappropriate use of standardized test scores in teacher evaluation since the new system was first implemented in 2011,” said Barbara Gray, Arlington Community Schools administrator and TEA president. “TEA is committed to ensuring that teacher evaluation systems function effectively to identify both teachers who are performing well and those who need assistance to improve. The imprecise and volatile statistical estimates in TVAAS do not serve these purposes.”

In addition to TEA, additional named plaintiffs in the lawsuit are an Anderson County educator, a Metro Nashville educator, the Anderson County Education Association, and the Metropolitan Nashville Education Association. Both teachers included as named plaintiffs teach grades and subjects in which student learning is not measured by a state standardized test. Each educator saw their overall evaluation scores drop as a result of school-wide TVAAS estimates being used to calculate their scores. As a result, the Metro Nashville educator was denied a bonus and the Anderson County educator lost her eligibility to be recommended for tenure.

TEA’s claims include the violation of Tennessee educators’ due process and equal protection rights granted under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The lawsuit asks the courts to stop the continued high-stakes use of TVAAS estimates for teachers of non-tested grades and subjects.

This lawsuit is one more piece of TEA’s fight against the use of TVAAS in any high-stakes decisions for Tennessee educators. The association has two other lawsuits currently pending on behalf of individual educators harmed by the state’s improper use of TVAAS estimates.

“Educators are not opposed to being evaluated. We just want it to be done in a way that actually reflects the quality of our individual work and contributions to student success,” said Gray.

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