CMS Leaders Continue Questioning Links Between Evaluations, Race And Retaining Experienced Teachers – WFAE

Leaders of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools continue to struggle with a contract policy that raises questions about the best way to keep good, experienced teachers — especially Black teachers — in the midst of a teacher shortage.

The school board’s policy committee spent 90 minutes Tuesday on a proposed change to the standards required for experienced teachers to get four-year contract renewals. The board came close to passing the changes last month, but as board Chair Elyse Dashew said, “This started out as looking like a very simple policy fix, and there’s so much beneath it that we need to unpack.”

The renewed scrutiny was spurred partly by a report presented privately to board members outlining the effect of the current policy and the proposed revision. About 2,200 of the district’s 9,000 teachers are up for renewal under the current policy, which requires teachers at the seven-year mark to get at least three ratings of “accomplished” on their most recent evaluation to qualify for another four-year contract.

The report said 761 don’t meet that standard. But they would qualify under the proposed change, which requires only the lower rating of “proficient.”

A disproportionate percentage of the teachers who fall short of the higher standard are Black. That has led to debate about whether the ratings are racially biased, and whether principals are doing enough to help their experienced Black teachers improve.

Board member Ruby Jones, a Black retired educator, says the numbers indicate there’s a failure at the top.

“It is a glaring