graduation_web.jpgTALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ Studies show students' race and socio-economic status have little correlation with scores under Florida's new teacher evaluation system.

A state education official reported those results to a House education subcommittee Thursday, but not all members were convinced.

Teachers were evaluated under the new system for the first time this year. It's based half on student test results.

Nearly 97 percent of teachers were rated “effective'' or “highly effective.'' The evaluations will be used in a performance pay plan scheduled to go into effect next year.

A law requiring that salaries be based on merit prohibits students' race and socio-economic status from being considered in the evaluations.

The Florida Education Association, the statewide teachers union, is challenging the law in court.