Teachers, parents and students protest CCSD decisions

Teachers, parents and students protest CCSD decisions

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Concerns with principal reassignments and teacher evaluations brought out more than 100 people in protest of the Charleston County School District.

Teachers, students and parents are upset with actions being taken by the district and they want to put an end to it.

You could see it their faces, and it hear it in their voices.

The crowd chanted several things including "stand-up, fight back" and "teachers have a voice."

Ashby Stoudenmier is a student at West Ashley High School who came out in support of his principal.

"This reshuffling that the Charleston County School Board is doing is not right," Stoudenmier said.

The school district is in the process of reassigning principals in the district.

The district's Board of Trustees Chair Kate Darby says it's a process that happens every school year.

"We see strengths in that principal that would be really helpful at another school," Darby said.

Principals are employed by the district, not by a specific school.

"He's always asking me how my day is going, he cares about me and that's what I like," Stoudenmier said.

Sandra Fitzgerald says she is concerned about teacher evaluations. She teaches fourth grade in Mount Pleasant.

"Our school has been solely based on test scores, but we're are also being told different things by different people," Fitzgerald said. "The school board is saying one thing, the CCSD school district is saying another."

Robert Summers also teaches fourth grade in the district.

"There's no test that can measure my impact on a child in a classroom," Summers said.

Darby says the state is looking at approving legislation that would require school districts to look at student achievement test scores when they look at school performance.

"No teacher is having a negative evaluation solely based on test scores, that's not going to happen," Darby said.

She says they have the test score data and they've asked principals to talk with teachers about that.

"It's not punitive," Darby said.

Teachers are feeling at risk of losing their jobs.

Darby says there are multiple factors that go into teacher evaluations.

Director of EdFirstSC Patrick Hayes organized the protest. He's also a CCSD teacher and his organization advocates for public schools including teachers, kids, parents and the community.

"They've said that and we're not seeing it," Hayes said. "When I talk to teachers and they tell me my observation score are absolutely golden going back 10 years...but now I'm a on a performance plan that just doesn't make sense."

There was also a counter-protester with tape over their mouths. They handed out sheets saying "we have been silenced for too long." They are in support of teacher evaluations that include the learning growth of a child. Their handout also read, "Far too long our community schools have been stuck with ineffective teachers- and our kids are falling further behind and never catch up!"

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