by John Steinberger | May 21, 2017 6:06 pm
Hundreds of people are expected to attend the Charleston County School Board meeting Monday at 5:15 pm at the 75 Calhoun St. headquarters downtown. Parents, teachers and students are concerned about the likely transfer of 15 principals based on their opposition to a new teacher evaluation system which was not revealed to principals and teachers at the beginning of the school year and never approved by the school board.
More than 200 parents showed up at the May 8 school board meeting, most of them in support of West Ashley High School Principal Lee Runyon. Runyon’s contract is listed as “pending”, after he expressed opposition to the new teacher evaluation system. Charleston County School District Superintendent Gerrita Postlewait chose to adopt the Education Value-Added Assessment System (EVAAS) to evaluate teachers and did not allow for principal input in the evaluation process.
The school district submitted names of teachers to be placed on “professional growth plans” to principals based on the EVAAS analysis. The plans can lead to the teachers’ eventual dismissal. Some of the teachers placed on growth plans have either been nominated for Teacher of the Year or assigned as mentors for first-year teachers.
The public school advocacy group EdFirstSC, headed by Drayton Hall Elementary School teacher Patrick Hayes, organized Monday’s rally. Citizens wishing to participate in the citizen comment period must sign up before 5:15. The group has generated a petition at Change.org urging the school district to revise its teacher evaluation system. More than 1600 have signed the petition, which you can view here: https://www.change.org/p/bullying-harassment-have-no-place-in-our-schools-much-less-in-the-district-office-help-charleston-s-parents-kids-and-educators-be-heard.
School Board member Chris Collins will present a motion at Monday’s meeting to restore the board’s authority to hire principals or approve their transfes. The school district is governed by the 1967 Act of Consolidation, a state law. In 2007, the law was amended to shift hiring and transfer authority from the eight regional constituent school boards to the consolidated school board. The law never granted hiring and transfer authority to the Superintendent, which may lead to a law suit against the school district.
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