A state district judge in New Mexico issued an injunction on December 2 that temporarily blocks the Public Education Department from using its teacher evaluation system to make employment or licensure decisions until a trial is held in April, the Albuquerque Journal reports.
Teachers in New Mexico welcomed the ruling, with union representatives saying teachers in the state, especially many special education teachers, have left the state due to the requirement that test scores count for 50 percent of their evaluation, a system known as “value-added measurement,” or VAM for short.
The state’s superintendent, Hannah Skandera, was planning to use the PARCC scores from last year as a baseline and then determine how much value teachers add to students’ knowledge next year, when the second year of scores from the PARCC tests are available.
But the PED said nothing changed with the injunction and that the test-based evaluation system would move forward despite Judge David Thomson’s preliminary injunction. Judge Thomson said his order prevents PED from enforcing its evaluation system until “a trial on the merits where the court can be assured of the statistical validity of the data collection and reporting that feeds into the system” but “does not stop the PED’s operation, development and improvement” of the evaluation system.
The injunction does, however, prevent the PED from taking “consequential actions” against teachers based on the VAM evaluation system.
“This is simply a legal PR stunt by the labor unions after they failed to get a complete injunction,” the Journal quoted PED spokesman Robert McEntyre as saying. “New Mexicans believe that every profession should be evaluated, and we will continue to evaluate our teachers, allowing us to praise our highly effective teachers and help those who are struggling.”
It has been rumored—but reported in some publications—that Jeb Bush is considering Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico as a potential running mate. Ms Skandera, who came from Florida and might be considered for the top job at the US Department of Education, should Mr Bush be elected president, came from Florida before moving to New Mexico, and Florida is Mr Bush’s home state.
Mr Bush is currently running fifth in the Real Clear Politics.com national polling average among Republicans for president, behind Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz, who leads by about 10 percentage points over Mr Bush.