Public school teachers in the state may soon have their pay dictated by a merit-based system. The South Carolina House of Representatives passed a bill last week that calls for a pay-for-performance system that would replace automatic annual pay raises.
Proponents of the legislation say that such a system would level the playing field in rural areas by allowing teachers in lower income districts to be paid on a level comparable to that of wealthier districts. That would allow lower-income districts to attract and retain more qualified teachers.
Teachers are concerned that the proposed system would tie student performance to how they are compensated. Dr. Cliff Barrineau, President of the Palmetto State Teachers Association says such a system would require more money, which he believes will be the deal breaker that will stop the bill’s passage.
Barrineau says solidly performing schools include effective administrators supported by a faculty that works cooperatively for the betterment of students. Barrienau says it has been shown in many instances where merit base pay in schools hurts morale and causes dissention among faculty members.
The bill does not offer a plan for the development of a new pay scale. It calls for an incentive plan that would be designed by a committee of teachers through the Department of Education. Barrineau says he believes that such a plan would include a student performance component, and any system measuring student performance does not come without flaws.
Barrineau says, as you watch television news programs and read newspapers from around the country, there seems to be a nationwide angst for public education.
The measure is now in a Senate committee.