Best and Brightest Program May Face a Class Action Lawsuit

by | Sep 15, 2017

A possible class action-lawsuit has been filed by the Florida Education Association against the Florida Department of Education and county school boards all over Florida.

Specifically, the FEA teacher’s union claims the “Best and Brightest” program teaching incentives program discriminates against minority teachers as well as older teachers.

From the filed lawsuit: “The SAT/ACT score requirement has an illegal disparate impact on teachers based on their age and on teachers based on their black and Hispanic race. The SAT/ACT score requirement is not required by business necessity and is not related to job performance.”

In 2015, Florida legislators approved the controversial Best and Brightest program as a way to provide bonuses for educators. The bonuses gauge teacher performances via SAT and ACT college-entrance exams.

The lawsuit is currently in waiting to become a class action suit. But the filing says the seven teachers listed as plaintiffs are asking for damages. The filing also requests an injunction against the state and county school boards from participating in possible “illegal actions.”

The lawsuit alleges, however, that during the 2015-2016 year, less than 1 percent of the bonus recipients were black teachers, while about 4 percent were Hispanic. It also detailed statistics indicating disparate effects of the SAT or ACT requirement on older teachers who otherwise had been rated as “highly effective.”

A spokeswoman for the Department of Education said Thursday the agency does not comment on litigation.

 

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