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CCSD reviews teacher evaluation system slated to take effect in 2015

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CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) -

There was some discussion and debate Monday over a teacher evaluation system for Charleston County educators. Superintendent Nancy McGinley met with 19 educators who were both for and against the system.

"I want teachers to take a deep breath, enjoy the holiday and feel comfortable that we are going to treat people fairly and no jobs are at stake."

Some reassuring words from McGinley concerning a teacher evaluation system slated to be implemented district-wide in 2015. McGinley says she is trying to push that date back.

"We are committed to coming up with a model that we feel comfortable with work in Charleston in relation to treating teachers fairly, doing something that is transparent and that is a value added for the profession, not just meeting requirements of a grant."

Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the system is something called "value added," which will use student test scores to measure how much value a teacher adds to student learning. Third-grade teacher and director of the non-profit EdFirstSC Patrick Hayes says this kind of rating system is unstable and fluctuates too much.

"Your best teacher one year can be called your worst teacher the next, and to think that that can be used to determine how much you're going to take home in pay and to think that that can be used to determine whether or not you get to continue in your chosen profession is frightening."

McGinley says the pilot phase is the time to vett the system and tailor it to Charleston County.

"We need to broaden the definition of what is value added, and we need to figure out how do we capture all of the great things that teachers do beyond just improvements on a standardized test."

The Charleston County School District is the only district in the state to get the nearly $24 million grant to pilot and implement the evaluation system.

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