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Post & Courier: Charleston Stakeholder Meeting

on Tue, 11/27/2012 - 18:47

If Mick Zais isn't running scared, I sure would hate to see him when he is.  Vladimir Putin couldn't have run a more bogus "stakeholder meeting".

Click below for the Post and Courier article. 




Hoping to avoid negative publicity from a repeat of their Greenville drubbing (video), Zais and the Department of Ed clamped down on the Charleston meeting in a way that would not be out of place in North Korea.

Zais himself took no questions, and his staff carefully censored questions (submitted in writing) so that not a single concern was raised about the teacher evaluation plan.

Their efforts were rewarded with a front-page piece in the Post & Courier calling them out on their cowardice AND recapping the Greenville debacle.  Well done, lads!  Well done!

After the Stakeholder Meeting, Kathy Meeks, Director of the Office of Teacher Evaluation demonstrated why nobody at the Dept. of Ed is allowed to answer real questions in public anymore.

A Kindergarten teacher told her that using schoolwide test scores to evaluate him was unfair.

She replied: "That is a problem. We didn't have much time when we were putting this together, and that was the best we could do.  Maybe you and some colleagues could work on this for your GBE goal next year and let us know what you come up with."

Where to begin?

Here's the complaint that EdFirstSC filed with the State Board of Education.  Several members have responded.  They are not amused by Zais' antics...


Dear Members of the SC State Board of Education:

I'm writing to you with great concern about the Community Stakeholder Meeting on teacher and principal evaluation last night in Charleston.

I've observed this meeting four times (virtual meeting, Beaufort, Greenville, and Charleston). 

Charleston was the first meeting where a staff member from the Department of Education stood in view of the audience sorting audience questions into those that would be answered (top of the pile) and those that would not (bottom of the pile).  In previous meetings, questions were handed directly to the presenters as they were collected. 

It was also the first meeting where not a single concern about the teacher evaluation proposal was raised.  I've confirmed with audience members that numerous such questions were submitted, along with my own.  In previous meetings, such questions have formed the bulk of the discussion.

Attendance was strong, and as you know, teachers have many concerns about the plan.  A show of hands indicated that the vast majority of audience members were teachers.  Yet in a 90 minute meeting, less than ten minutes were allotted for questions on teacher evaluation.

Even the few questions that were asked were not answered appropriately.  One question asked how special area teachers (art, music, pe) would have their performance evaluated.  The Department staffer answered at some length without ever using the term "schoolwide test scores", which is, of course, exactly what 30% of their evaluation would be based on under the proposal she had just presented.

Having had the opportunity to observe the thoughtful deliberations of the State Board, I cannot imagine that this is what was envisioned when the Board directed the Department to engage with Stakeholders.  Teachers reported feeling insulted and disregarded by the process that was used to control the discussion.

Please urge the Department to employ a different approach in future meetings. 

Best regards,

Patrick Hayes