Lawmakers look at pay incentives for NC teachers

Posted February 25, 2014

— North Carolina lawmakers, school leaders and parents are considering whether teachers can be better rewarded for performance through a statewide incentives package.

The Educator Effectiveness and Compensation Task Force met with state lawmakers for the first time Tuesday and hopes to make some recommendations regarding teacher pay by mid-April.

Finding a better way to link teacher and administrator performance to salaries has been a hot topic since Republicans took over the legislature in 2011. Teachers used to get bonuses based on student scores on standardized tests.

"Education is a team sport. It seems we start rewarding individual teachers rather than the whole group of teachers and making everyone feel whole," said Timothy Barnsback, a Burke County teacher and president of Professional Educators of North Carolina. "We have to do that before we can move on to talk about the larger term. We’re suffering whiplash in the classroom. There have been so many changes.”

Sen. Jerry Tillman, R-Randolph, said across-the-board raises for teachers and step increases based on experience are likely things of the past in North Carolina.

Incentives must be "part of real pay from now on for teachers," said Tillman, who co-chairs the Senate Education Committee.

"There will be many incentives in there, from contributing to the goals of your school to being a good team member," he said. "But the most important part is what are you doing with the kids you’re teaching? Are they making any progress or not?"

The discussion comes as North Carolina school teachers have received one raise since 2008. Gov. Pat McCrory and legislative leaders this month pledged to raise salaries of the least-experienced teachers. McCrory said that pay change is a first step.

Under the current state base pay scale, it takes a teacher 16 years to reach a $40,000 salary. All but 11 of the 115 public school districts in North Carolina supplement the state pay, depending on factors such as a teacher's experience and professional credentials.

Supplements average $3,728 but vary from $100 to $6,441.

"It’s apparent that we have almost two North Carolinas,” said Rep. George Graham, D-Lenoir.

Graham said rural districts can't afford the supplements needed to attract science and math teachers, who are in high demand, and likely will need state and federal support to compete.

"We probably need to think about a state contribution to a fund that you can tap into on a matching basis," Tillman said, suggesting that poorer counties receive a higher state match for funding.


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  • A proud teacher Feb 26, 2014

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    This high school teacher was the valedictorian of her high school graduating class of 776 students, graduated with honors from Duke University with a degree in chemistry, and earned her "teachers degree" (incorrect terminology) by earning a masters degree with high honors in secondary science education from the University of South Carolina.

    I'll stack my "bottom of the barrel" education up against yours any day!

  • Michael Hart Feb 26, 2014
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    do you ever see past those Glasses? Ever?
    Vouchers? Private schools? all disasters, Teacher pay lowest that it has ever been? your boys are dismantling everything that has made this State productive and yet you sit back and support it? seriously where have you all been, is it that important to run roughshod over the People because the other side is the Dems, this isn't a basketball game?

  • teacher2X4 Feb 26, 2014

    I oppose a merit based program because the way the system is set up now, my performance review is based off of students that were never in my class. How is that fair? Last year every child was at or above grade level in all subjects, yet on my summative evaluation I was rated as ineffective because of 5th grade EOG scores. I teach kindergarten! Under the current plan I could lose my job even though I'm doing a good job! They need do come up with an instrument to measure every teachers performance, not just use 1 assessment for all teachers. Should art teachers performance be based on 5th grade EOG scores? Or how about gym teachers? With the current system their performance is being measured by one grade levels reading and math scores. Not fair!

  • Michael Hart Feb 26, 2014
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    bbbbaaaaaahhhhhhaaaaaaaa, you truly believe that don't you! they are no more a arm for the Dems than they are for the Cons. They are only there for the Teachers and last time I checked they vote who they wish to. Why do the righties blame everyone else but their own party......?

  • Damon Circosta Feb 26, 2014
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    We have to -HAVE TO - get away from this idea that paying teachers and supporting schools is 'charitable'. Good schools build great citizens, lots of them. As in enough of them to make this whole self government thing go. Sure, some of us with more affluence could find a comparable education in the private sector, but there is NO WAY to scale that so we have enough of these good citizens to invent, prosper, contribute, govern, innovate etc.. We don't need to wait for revenue projections, or "how things shake out". This needs to get done. Now. Not because it will help win the next election, or news cycle, or kitchen table argument. But because (without hyperbole) the fate of human existence requires it.

  • Charlie Watkins Feb 26, 2014
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    The Republicans cannot raise the pay high enough to satisfy the NCAE even if they triple it. The NCAE is a political arm of the NC Democratic Party and will never favor the Republicans no matter what the GOP does for them. So give it up. You will never have their support so do not try.

  • btammybullard Feb 25, 2014

    I am so sick of all of the negative comments that smash teachers in NC. I am a teacher...and proud of it. I have my Master's degree and I am a National Board Certified teacher. I work long hours and my students exceed High Growth in math every year....and I do not agree with Merit Pay. Why??? All of my students are assigned to me every year and come from varying homes. Most students have parents that care less about what kinds of grades they make.. much less about what they even do in my math class everyday. No home. But guess what.. I teach them and push them while I have them 50 minutes everyday. I can't go home with them, but I do what I can while I have them. I am an educator, social worker, and mom to all 130 students that I teach. I haven't been rewarded except for 1.5 or so raise in many years. I love what I do... but I want to feel appreciated at some point time. I would like to see all of these people who care less about teachers to spend a day in my shoes!

  • Pensive01 Feb 25, 2014

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    One has to wonder why you support any sort of education at all, even private school, if you feel that teaching degrees are worthless. After all even private school teachers have degrees.

  • marsupial75 Feb 25, 2014

    This armchair quarterbacking is troubling to say the least.

    For those who claim teachers have it easy and "just follow a lesson plan," I challenge you to spend a day or two in a classroom. Then, judge for yourself based on real information, not hearsay.

    Also, just because you don't admit to actions of previous administrations doesn't mean they didn't happen. Look it up. Perdue did include pay raises in her 2012 budget (but in '10 or '09 because of the recession, which isn't an issue now--look at state revenues). Somehow, this line-item for pay raises got thrown aside when the General Assembly amended the budget during the legislative process. Hmm... Even throwing that aside, that was then, this is now. Supporters of education were upset when pay wasn't raised in the past, just as they are now when these legislative proposals are grossly out of touch with reality. Have they ever stepped foot in a school outside of a political photo op?

  • fedora Feb 25, 2014

    It's time to vote the Republicans out of office before they ruin the state poor ideas like this and the dump school voucher program.