From an ‘Under the Dome’ article yesterday:

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Peter Gorman has gained notice for improving student performance in an urban district.

On Thursday, he described ideas for finding and keeping the best teachers and putting them where they’re most needed for the State Board of Education, Lynn Bonner reports.

Teacher pay should be based more on how much they can teach and motivate students, not necessarily how long they’ve worked or if they have advanced degrees, Gorman said.

“If we pay everyone equally, regardless of effectiveness, we send the wrong message — we’re not valuing your gifts,” Gorman said.

He ran through dozens of graphs and slides to show that advanced degrees do not necessarily translate into better teaching, and that the pool of most effective teachers include some relatively new to the profession as well as veterans.

Novice teachers are not as effective as those with more experience, but new teachers populate high poverty schools where students are not doing well.

Starting next year, the district will look at how principals assign teachers, and include it in the principals’ evaluations.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Guilford offer extra pay to effective teachers willing to work in high poverty schools, which is not a common practice in the state.

That often leaves students who need help the most with the more ineffective and least experienced teachers.

“We’ve just not done a good job of stepping up to the plate in addressing this,” State Board of Education Chairman Bill Harrison said.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg, where more than half the students qualify for subsidized lunch, has improved test scores at high schools that were once in trouble.


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