Attack on South Carolina Teacher’s and Teacher Pay

Yesterday, I received an email from EdFirst (edfirstsc.org), a wonderful educational non-profit based out of Charleston, South Carolina, that shocked me, but didn’t surprise me.  Superintendent of South Carolina, Mick Zais, has decided that teachers will be graded on an A-F scale.  Now many of you may say “Oh, that’s simple.”, but it’s really not.  This is how it would work.

Teachers:

  1.  You’re going to get an A, B, C, D, or F.
  2. This is based on student test scores “An implementation (and for new teacher’s), a single year’s scores will be used.”
  3. The scores will not be from students that you taught. (Non-Pass teachers 30% of evaluation from school wide scores.  PASS Teacher’s 10%)  This includes special needs teachers, music, PE, Art, and Kindergarten teachers.
  4. An “F” rating will force the district to consider terminating you.
  5. A plan is being created to use these ratings to determine your salary.
  6. This plan will implement at the same time as brand new Common Core Standards and Tests.

What does this say to teachers?  You aren’t working hard enough and adding pressure to the mix will force you to fix this.

Mom and Dad pay attention:

  1. This will add more pressure to your kids in ways that “may not be  productive or appropriate”.
  2. Teachers did not go into this profession because they wanted to get rich or because they did not intend to work hard and give our students 100%
  3. “Large scale research has shown that score-based pay schemes do not yield better outcomes for children”.  This means we go back to more teach to test instead of project based learning.

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Now I’m not saying that we do not need a tool to figure out if teachers are doing their jobs.  I’m not saying that we don’t need a tool to gauge if our children are learning, but what I am saying is that this is not the way to do this.  Right now, the projection that when more teachers retire, there will not be enough teachers staying in South Carolina to replace the ones that are retiring.  This is only going to make finding good, dedicated teachers much harder and the ones that are good and dedicated are going to go to another state where they are appreciated and not stressed to death about their work.  Teachers are not the Big Bad Wolf in the situation, teachers are Little Red Riding Hood and bad Legislation is the Big Bad Wolf.

Now is the time to stop this.  We all need to come together as parents and we need to protect our Teachers.  These are the people that we put in charge of helping our children become who they will be later in life.  Think back to that teacher that told you that you could do it when you thought that you couldn’t.  let’s be proactive and not reactive.

If you would like to write to Mr. Zais and tell him that you do not support these proposed changes write him at 1429 Senate Street Columbia, SC 29201 or email him at SCSuptED@ed.sc.gov.

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