Federal judge upholds state's merit pay law

TALLAHASSEE, Florida (AP) - A federal judge is upholding a contentious teacher evaluation law and dismissing a lawsuit filed by seven teachers.

U.S. District Judge Mark Walker ruled Tuesday that Florida's new teacher evaluation system is unfair, but he said there was no legal reason to overturn the law.

Legislators in 2011 passed the law that tied teacher evaluations and merit pay to the state's standardized tests. There have been legal challenges mounted in both the state and federal courts.

Seven teachers from Alachua, Escambia and Hernando counties along with several teacher unions filed this lawsuit last year in a Gainesville federal court.

Andy Ford, president of the Florida Education Association, said his organization was "disappointed" in the ruling and said the union was evaluating whether to appeal the decision.


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