Former PEPSC chair, Human Capital Roundtable member: Principal evaluations too subjective for use with performance pay

If you don’t live in a North Carolina cave, you’re likely aware of the controversial Pathways to Excellence merit pay scheme.

This proposal would make North Carolina the first state in the country to end the experience-based teacher salary schedule and move all teachers to a system of merit pay–and it’s getting closer to becoming a reality.

For some teachers, the opportunity for raises and career advancement would depend on students’ performance on standardized tests. But for the 60% of teachers who don’t have end of year tests tied to their subject, their “merit” would be measured in part by how their principal rates them on the North Carolina Educator Effectiveness System (NCEES).

Dr. Patrick Miller–recently retired Superintendent of Greene County Schools–is very familiar with the Pathways to Excellence proposal.

Miller was the first chair of the Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission (PEPSC) which is preparing to vote on the scheme and also a member of the shadowy Human Capital Roundtable that originally created it.

Dr. Miller earned his PhD from East Carolina University. His 2011 dissertation examined a 2007-2010 performance pay pilot program called The Collaborative Project which offered educators in five rural NC counties (including Greene) financial incentives based on their performances.

The dissertation arrives at a number of findings, but it was Dr. Miller’s conclusions on using principal evaluations for determining pay that stood out most to me.

Miller noted that the principal evaluation ratings were highly subjective and could be inflated for a variety of reasons, including impact on teacher morale and the desire to put more money in teachers’ pockets. He suggested evaluations should either be changed or eliminated entirely from performance incentive criteria.

🗣️ Miller’s argument is the same argument teachers have been making against the Pathways to Excellence performance measures since last spring. 🗣️

The hypocrisy is mind boggling.

The PEPSC Commission will meet on November 10 to consider approving the Pathways to Excellence merit pay proposal and sending it on to the State Board of Education for consideration.

Dr. Miller’s term as PEPSC Chair ended September 1, and the commission is now led by UNCW’s Dr. Van Dempsey.

You can find contact information for PEPSC Commission and State Board of Education decision makers here:

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