SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — The state’s largest teacher union has filed a lawsuit to block a ballot question that would change the way teachers are evaluated.
Michael Flynn is one of seven plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office regarding a ballot initiative from the non-profit Stand for Children. The group sponsors the petition “An Act to Promote Excellence in the Public Schools,” which aims at recognizing teachers according to performance rather than seniority.
It’s something Flynn says a task force made up of teachers, administrators, parents and law makers have already worked on. It will be implemented over the next three years.
“The goal of it is to really improve education to support teachers and help them grow, but there is a place in there to dismiss teachers who are performing poorly,” said Flynn.
Flynn says if this ballot question passes it will wipe out the work of the task force and the new system before it even had a chance to be tested.
The Massachusetts Teacher Association says the ballot proposal is unconstitutional.
“It’s an initiative that doesn’t change one law. It changes several laws. Laws that deal with the courts and having the ability to rule on arbitration. It affects the education reform laws and it affects the collective bargaining law,” said Tim Collins, President Springfield Education Association.
The Attorney General’s Office backs up it’s procedure for the ballot question:
“We make our decisions to certify ballot initiatives based purely on the facts and the law and without regard to the Attorney General’s policy views on the issue. As we do with all petition decisions, we work cooperatively with parties who wish to challenge our rulings. The most important thing is to get the right result,” said Emalie Gainey, Deputy Press Secretary, Office of Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley.
The question still has several more steps before it’s officially on the November ballot.
“Stand for Children,” stands behind their question, despite this latest move to block it.
To read the full lawsuit click on the link - http://www.massteacher.org/news/archive/2012/~/media/Files/PDFs/Advocating/stand/court%20complaint.pdf
To read the ballot petetion click on the link - http://www.mass.gov/ago/docs/government/2011-petitions/11-20.pdf