Education advocates oppose giving letter grades to SC teachers - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Education advocates oppose giving letter grades to SC teachers

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State education officials have long discussed ways to improve evaluations of teachers in the classroom.

There's a new proposal filed just weeks before the new legislative session, but education leaders are not very optimistic about the bill or even the current evaluation program being tested now.

Teacher advocacy groups say the state's proposal is lacking.

The state's teacher evaluation proposal is currently in its second year of testing in select South Carolina schools.

Fifty percent of the evaluation is done by administrators and peers done in the classroom, 30 percent is on growth, 10 percent can come from school wide data, and another ten percent is based on student or parental input that would be derived from surveys, said Former Chairman of the State Board of Education, Dr. David Blackmon.

The problem for educator advocacy groups: receiving a letter grade as part of their evaluation.

"That letter grade just took away that attitude of treating them as professionals," said Joanie Lawson with the South Carolina Education Association.

Legislation filed this week by State Rep. Andrew Patrick proposes yet another teacher evaluation system which would include teacher bonuses and year-to-year comparisons of student test scores, which many say can be an inconsistent measure.

"There's a significant amount of error," said Betsy Carpenter with the SC Association of School Administrators. "The department of education has a report that indicates there's about 30 percent error of classifying teachers as effective when they aren't, or as ineffective when they are."

The SC Education Association wants to make sure the system is fair and reliable.

"What we really want to happen, is we want to know what is the system and that it's going to be a fair and reliable system for their evaluation and one that will provide feedback for them so they can increase their skills," Lawson said.

The results of the state's pilot program will be presented in June.

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