State teacher equity plan could mean stricter performance evaluations for educators

WASHINGTON (WCIV/AP) Federal officials have approved South Carolina's plan to ensure equal teacher quality in all districts and schools.

South Carolina's was one of 16 state plans given initial approval{}Thursday by the U.S. Department of Education as part of its "Excellent Educators for All" initiative, which seeks to combat the trend of high-quality teachers not working in high-poverty, high-minority schools.

This first round of approvals comes just over a year after the federal government mandated all 50 states submit new teacher equity plans in order to tackle unfulfilled requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act.

South Carolina's plan includes:

  • Developing incentives for new teachers to work in high-poverty, high-minority districts.
  • Delegating more authority and responsibility to teachers in high-poverty, high-minority schools so that administrators can provide greater instructional support.
  • Offering more equitable, competitive pay for teachers statewide, regardless of the district in which they work.

S.C. Department of Education officials say new teachers don't often choose to work in higher-poverty, higher-minority districts because they aren't exposed to them. Part of the solution for the problem is better recruitment strategies, education officials say.

As for the lack of distributed leadership, the state believes many administrators aren't skilled or trained in delegating responsibility or empowering leadership. The state plans to make delegation a performance standard, and have them engage in more professional development on the subject.

To provide more equitable salaries, the state says it will consult with members of The Teacher Salary Project, a nonpartisan research organization, and brainstorm revisions to the state's salary schedules.

A consequence of the new plans for teachers, according to the state's plan, will be more rigorous effectiveness evaluations.

You can view the state's entire proposal here:

Other states' proposals approved Thursday included Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maine, Missouri, Minnesota, New York, Nevada, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

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