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Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Update

February 11th, 2010 Listed Under: Charlotte News, Schools

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Announces Teacher Auditions In Place of Traditional Interviews

Years ago my wife and I were considering an extremely successful private school for our children. In an interview with the Head of School, I asked the founder what made his school so successful? What was the “difference-maker”?  His response more than a decade a go still provides a roadmap for success:

“That’s easy: Great Teachers! If I put a great teacher in front of your children, they’ll get a great education. Now what we do in here (waving his hands around the office) is important, but I hire the very best teachers I can find, help get them some in service work that might make them even better, and then try and stay out of their way and let them do their job.”

How refreshingly simple, and difficult to achieve.

Great Teachers = Great Teaching = Student Success

Last year CMS Superintendent Peter Gorman announced he wanted pay for performance compensation for his teachers. This was met with the usual wailing and knashing of teeth. Yet he has invited teachers to participate and work through the difficult issues- and there are many- to come up with a formula that pays teachers based on student achievement,  performance, or a pay for performance hybrid. It won’t be easy. Many have tried and found a lot of ways that don’t work. It will be difficult and contentious. Never the less, if Great Teaching = Student Success, and our students are NOT nearly successful enough, then there isn’t nearly enough great teaching- Is it me?  Or isn’t this logic inescapable?

Current teacher compensation does not reward excellence. It demotivates the excellent, as they see colleagues with more years of experience receive much more pay- yet all the students are begging to get into the great teacher’s class, and this is where students excel.

A pay for performance plan would reward the excellent teachers, encourage the good teachers to want to become great teachers, the average teacher to want to become a good teacher- and the ones not interested in becoming good teachers need to be helped out the door into a new career better suited for their skills and talents.

So, CMS is proposing pay for performance, Teacher Auditions, Special pay for excellent teachers to move to tougher schools… I think CMS gets it too!

In full disclosure for the record, our  children attended quality private and public schools.   Lets get on with it- your child, my grandchildren, everyone’s child deserves to have a good teacher in every grade and every class, and deserves great teachers working to become even better too!

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Terry McDonald
I'm the owner/team leader of The McDonald Group at Wilkinson and Associates ERA Powered real estate brokers here in Charlotte NC. A transplanted Washinghtonian, my family and I came from the NYC area in 1993.
Terry McDonald
Terry McDonald

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