Meeting records reveal significant disagreement, botched vote over use of student surveys to determine North Carolina teacher pay

Today the NC Department of Public Instruction will present the State Board of Education with a draft proposal that would move the state’s teachers from an experience-based pay scale to a system of “merit pay.” 

Much of the pushback from educators thus far has centered around the use of EVAAS, a computer software which the SAS corporation claims can accurately measure teacher effectiveness based solely on students’ standardized test results.

Educators are rightly concerned about the proposed use of this data, among other reasons because of how many factors go into student test performance that are beyond the teacher’s control.

But what about the 60% of teachers who don’t have EVAAS scores, or those teachers whose scores are low?  

According to the proposal, those educators would have the option of being evaluated via something called the “Practical Educator Evidence Review” (PEER).

PEER would use principal observation, observation by a Level IV+ colleague, and student surveys in order to gauge teacher effectiveness.

There are four PEPSC subcommittees currently working on the licensure and compensation reform proposal: Prep and Entry, Advancement and Development, Budget and Compensation, and Licensure.

Discussion at the March 31, 2022 meeting of the Licensure subcommittee revealed significant disagreement among members over whether student surveys should be used to determine teachers’ compensation and career advancement.

Dr. Chris Godwin, Assistant Dean and Chair of Professional Education at Campbell University, was the first to raise concerns about the use of student surveys at this meeting. Multiple other members then chimed in as well to say they did not support that part of the proposal.

I’ll post complete minutes at the end, but the relevant section is here:

A few minutes later Dr. Kimberly Evans, who serves as DPI’s Education Preparation Coordinator, returned to the point on student surveys to clarify that the Licensure committee had in fact voted to approve student surveys, albeit not unanimously. Another committee member replied in the chat:

“I personally don’t think using qualitative assessments for licensure is a good idea b/c it opens up too much subjectivity into the process.”

The subcommittee members’ conflicting accounts over whether or not the group had chosen to use student surveys in the model made me curious, so I did some digging and found the meeting where the decision was made.

At the November 2021 meeting of the Licensure subcommittee, the decision to move forward with student surveys was taken up despite the fact that more than half of the voting members were not in attendance–a point noted by subcommittee member and NCAE President Tamika Walker Kelly.

Others who were present appeared confused about whether they were eligible to vote or should abstain because they work for the Department of Public Instruction.

The use of student surveys was approved by a one vote margin, 8-7.

Giving students power to determine teachers’ salaries and professional path is not a decision to be made lightly. It’s one that deserves rigorous dialogue by all stakeholders (committee members and public alike) as well as clearly established parameters for how the decision will be made.

At least from these two Licensure subcommittee meetings, it appears that those things are not currently happening.

You can direct thoughts on the process and draft proposal to Dr. Thomas Tomberlin here: Thomas.Tomberlin@dpi.nc.gov

State Board of Education members will eventually vote on whether to approve the model, which is expected to be finalized in the coming weeks. If you’d like to share feedback with State Board members, their email addresses are:

eric.davis@dpi.nc.gov
alan.duncan@dpi.nc.gov
olivia.oxendine@dpi.nc.gov
reginald.kenan@dpi.nc.gov
amy.white@dpi.nc.gov
James.Ford@dpi.nc.gov
Jill.Camnitz@dpi.nc.gov
Donna.Tipton-Rogers@dpi.nc.gov
JWendell.Hall@dpi.nc.gov
john.blackburn@dpi.nc.gov
mark.robinson@dpi.nc.gov
dale.folwell@dpi.nc.gov

Complete minutes from the November 2021 PEPSC Licensure subcommittee meeting:

Nov-2021-Licensure-subcommittee-minutes

Complete minutes from the March 2022 PEPSC Licensure subcommittee meeting:

Mar-2022-Licensure-subcommittee-minutes

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