CCSD leaders discuss performance-based teachers'pay

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) Some teachers are split on a controversial program that would base teacher pay around how well they perform inside the classroom.

On Monday evening, Superintendent Dr. Nancy McGinley met with teachers to address their concerns.

Currently a pilot program is in place at 14 area schools. However, McGinley says she's asked the federal department of education to hold off on rolling it out to all the schools.

"We are not ready to do that," said McGinley. "We want this to be something decided with teachers, and we don't want to feel like we're rushing into something."

When comes to making sure students reach their fullest potential -- Charleston County school leaders take the job seriously.

"The greatest reward a teacher has is student growth," said McGinley.

To achieve that, district leaders will take part in a plan that could base a teacher's pay on performance, determined by evaluations, observations and how well students perform.

"We are going to treat people fairly and no jobs are at stake," said McGinley.

However, teachers who met Monday with McGinley still have several concerns.

Drayton Hall teacher Patrick Hayes says the grant application that makes the program possible is very specific.

"In the grant application, it does state that the district intends to stop paying annual increases that were promised to teachers at hire," said Hayes. "It also specifies that the district will start using value added data as part of the evaluation formula that will be used to dismiss people."

Other educators, including Amanda Dobson, say they're on board with the program, stating that it would give teachers and opportunity to make more money sooner.

"Because a teacher's main responsibility is to educate her students, evidence of student learning should be reflected and we should be looking at that in evaluations," said Dobson.

Hayes went on to further say that while the discussion with McGinley was encouraging, he said that it would be difficult to fit the dynamics of their conversation to fit what the grant calls for.

"The constraints of the grant make that a very difficult goal to achieve," said Hayes.

McGinley admits there are still some kinks with the program that still need to be worked out but hopes to work with teachers to do that.

"I think we need to broaden the definition of what is valued added, and we need to figure out how we capture all the great things teachers do beyond improvements," said McGinley.