CCSD management policy leaves district open to law suits

CCSD management policy leaves district open to law suits
May 28 18:50 2017 Print This Article

Charleston County School District (CCSD) has been using the Goals Based Evaluation Program (GBE) for continuing teachers for more than a decade. CCSD began the 2016-2017 school year with GBE in place as the evaluation tool for veteran teachers. In late March, CCSD principals were called into a meeting with the district for what they thought was going to be about staffing allocations. Instead, the principals were informed that they were to put certain teachers on professional growth plans based on test scores from the 2014 – 2015 and 2015 – 2016 school years. The teachers and principals did not know about the new evaluation system going into the the current school year.

Principals had deep concerns over this directive by the district. They knew if a teacher was put on formal evaluation plan without indication of prior concerns, they were violating the teacher’s due process rights and opening themselves up to a law suit. They would not be following existing CCSD personnel policies.

As principals checked the test data of teachers the district directed to put on growth plans, they found the student data to be inaccurate.  When principals informed the CCSD about inaccurate data, the school district bureaucrats doubled down, and up to 15 principals were put on “pending” contracts and will likely be re-assigned to other schools.

At the May 22 Charleston County School Board meeting, Superintendent Gerrita Postlewait stated, “The principal must decide if a teacher is placed on an improvement plan.” Postlewait has placed the principals in an untenable position. The principal is directed who to place on a growth plan, yet, the principal is held responsible for the decision. If the teacher went forward with ligation for a violation of due process, the principal and school district would be held liable.

Superintendent Potlewait has used a top-down management system since taking over from Nancy McGinley in 2015.  She has yet to offer a Strategic Action Plan, required by state law.  The action plan is supposed to be updated every five years, and CCSD has requested extensions two years in a row. Principals want to know what is expected of them and their teachers going forward.  Parents, teachers and students in up to 15 schools want to know who their principal will be next year.