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Johnston Putting Together a Game Plan to Get Best Teachers

Posted March 22, 2007
Updated March 23, 2007

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— With teachers in short supply, Johnston County—one of the state’s biggest systems—has struggled to attract and retain qualified teachers.

Now, however, school officials have a new, multimillion-dollar plan to attract more teachers into their classrooms.

At the Johnston County school administration building, a group of human resource officials meet each week to brainstorm plans for recruiting new teachers.

"We want to make sure that we are out front making sure that we get the best teacher in that classroom," says Joyce Wade, associate superintendent of human resources for Johnston County Schools.

Recruitment hasn't been easy. The teacher turnover rate is 16.6 percent in Johnston. Neighboring school systems like Wake County have lured teachers away with better pay. Officials say Wake County supplements teachers’ salaries by up to 13.5 percent, more than double what Johnston County offers over the state-funded base salary.

"It's all about providing a quality education while being competitive with other school systems," says Wade. School officials have a new plan that would allow them to offer up to a $4,000 signing bonus for new teachers. Right now, they pay between $1,000 and $2,500.

As part of the proposal, teachers who stick around would also receive up to an 11 percent supplement to their salaries compared with the 6.5 percent and 9.5 percent that Johnson adds now. School officials say the incentive plan will cost tax payers an estimated $2 million dollars.

"I think they deserve the extra incentive and the extra pay because they work hard for their money,” says Kirston Parrott, a mom whose son attends public school.

Parrott says she sees it as an investment. Scoring the best teachers means a win for her child and others.

The county commissioners must approve the incentive plan before it becomes a reality. It's scheduled for a vote May 15.


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  • NCTeacher Mar 24, 2007

    That last post should read "beg" not "bed". Sorry.

  • NCTeacher Mar 24, 2007

    ALL professions have a few bad workers. Yes, there are some crappy teachers out there. But there are also crappy construction workers, food service workers, doctors, lawyers, nurses..... Don't lump all teachers together and assume we all suck.

    And I certainly hope they wouldn't base my job performance on my EOG scores every year. Some years might be good. But no matter how good of a teacher you are- you aren't going to reach every single kid. You just aren't. They aren't all coming to you with the same ability level. And they all aren't going to end up the same. When you get a student that doesn't know basic Math in six grade- you are not going to make that kid pass a 6th grade EOG by the end of the year. If I only had to teach my grade level material- it might be a possibility.

    Please remember that no matter how good a teacher is, we still can't take the test for them. We can teach, guide, instruct, encourage, bed, plead......but the responsibility is still mainly theirs

  • buck121794 Mar 23, 2007

    All this talk about paying the "best teachers." Who will determine this? The EOG results from the classes? NO, because not every subject has an EOG. The parents' input? No, too many parents not interested. There will be major problems with deciding who ar ethe best teachers. Example, a teacher who teaches talented and gifted students, when those students are self motivated to do their best, or a teacher who has a low performing group and they have no, or little motivation, and no progress is noted and the end of the year?

  • Friend Mar 23, 2007

    Most of the teacher's they have now do a excellent job. However there are a few who need to shape up or ship out. I would be in favor of an annual evaluation on each teacher performed by the parents of the students and their fellow teacher's, all done annonymously. Some of these teachers just shouldn't be teaching, so they must not have a very good system in place for annual evaluations. The classrooms should have cameras installed also so if problems come up they can be accurately researched and investigated. Some of the things these teachers do and say would not take place if they knew another adult might see it.

  • Fun Mar 23, 2007

    Freedom of CHOICE...is an inequality now eh?
    Try Vouchers as a test for 10 years and watch what happens. Measure everything scientifically. I agree, while vouchers may be "part" of a "potential" solution to many problems with the GOVERMENT system, the "probably" of the GOVERNMENT allowing something that would take power and money away from the system is not high on their list.

  • 777 Mar 23, 2007

    Vouchers is simply not the answer. The solution is to reform the school system to provide an EQUAL and high quality education for all studnets.

    *Vouchers will be useless to the students who need the help the most; those with uninvoled parents and those in lower-income areas.*

    You already have choices as to which schools you send your children to when you chose where you live, and especially in Raleigh with the number of Charter and Magnet schools.

    And then there becomes the issue that the majority of private schools, at least around here, are religion-based and run by churches, so then what happens to the Muslim or Jewish kids who might be able to use a voucher but have no private school to use it at?

    The fact is *Vouchers promote inequality in education* which will only make many of our society's problems worse.

    The key to reforming education is in the teachers: do away with TENURE and make teaching into an actual PROFFESSION, rather than a crappy government job.

  • Sidekick Mar 23, 2007

    STFUGBTW if the voucher will allow some of the students to go to other schools, then those that don't will have fewer in the classroom. Right? Isn't that what the lottery is supposed to do, lower teacher/student ratio? So, (now I'm not real good at math) if you reduce class size by 15 percent by allow some parents a CHOICE, then by golly, that is a good thing? But, as we see over and over again, the parents (who are getting beaten up all the time about not getting involved) have no choice as to where or when they can get their kids an education. After a while, anyone just would throw up their hands when they are constantly being beaten back.

    But this thread is about getting good teachers. How will these teachers be evaluated? Are they going to be tested? Are they going to be worth all the incentives? What criteria is JOCO setting up to establish that? I guess none of that matters because the thinking is that if we give 'em a $4,000 signing bonus, they must be great!

  • pink lady Mar 23, 2007

    I live in Johnston County and my son attends, in my opinion, the most wonderful elementary school in the county. He is a third grader at West Smithfield Elementary and EVERY staff member deserves a raise. They are the most wonderful group of people and I am thankful everyday that my son is fortunate enough to be one of their students.

  • beachgal Mar 23, 2007

    Well, part of it IS the teachers. My son had a 4th grade teacher (in Clayton) that couldn't spell as well as he could! Yet, she was tenured and you know how that is! She's going nowhere! My daughter had a 5th grade teacher that could care less about her! She took longer to do the assignments so she didn't want her in her class. The teacher was one of those "AIG" teachers and she didn't have time for my non-AIG child. My other child had a 3rd grade teacher that was wonderful! I wish she could have had her all through the years!

  • Fun Mar 23, 2007

    Yes-STFUGBTW--- Its the only and best way to ring out the WASTE in the ADMINISTRATION. I believe if you investigated the private tuition, you can send a child to Ravenscroft or Montessori for 1/2. Let the GOVERNMENT work with the other half-for those that CHOOSE GOVERMENT--like you.