Senate seeks to end pay bump for advanced teaching degrees

Posted May 24, 2013

— A provision in the Senate budget calls for eliminating a salary bonus in 2014 for any incoming teacher who has earned a master's degree.

That bonus amounts to a 10 to 15 percent increase in pay for which those teachers would be ineligible. Current teachers with master's degrees wouldn't be affected.

While that provision might cause heartburn for some, the loss of tenure for veteran teachers is what has many longtime educators up in arms over the Senate budget proposal.

Teachers now can earn so-called "career status" after four years of experience. That affords them additional due process protections if a school principal seeks to fire them.

Administrators must provide extensive documentation of poor performance or one of 14 other grounds for dismissal. That involves a series of evaluations, and the teacher must be put on an action plan and provided time and support to improve. A hearing officer gets involved, which leads to more evaluations.

Due process means it can take months to remove a failing teacher.

Classroom generic Tenure issue balances educators' rights, need to remove bad teachers

"Nobody that I know has a job for life," said Sen. Jerry Tillman, R-Randolph, a former school administrator who wants to make it easier to fire bad teachers.

"I did that many many times with career teachers, but it takes time and determination and guts to do that," Tillman said.

Tom Benton, a Wake County Board of Education member who served as a teacher and principal for decades, said it can be "relatively easy" to remove an ineffective teacher from the classroom.

Dealing with marginal teachers is the bigger challenge, Benton said, so he supports streamlining due process instead of ending it.

"How do you balance out protecting a teacher from some kind of arbitrary, capricious firing against the needs of a principal to remove an ineffective teacher?" he said.

While the Senate plan would allow schools to offer multi-year contracts to only the best teachers, the House has passed a more moderate approach that puts veteran teachers on "non-probationary" status. Under the House plan, a teacher could be fired at will only after receiving negative evaluations for two straight years.

Rich Nixon, a social studies teacher at Corinth Holders High School in Wendell, said he feels he traded high pay for job security by going into teaching, and he's not ready to surrender his tenure.

"It's not that we're trying to protect inadequate teachers. No one wants to do that," Nixon said. "We want the ability to defend ourselves. We want to work."


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  • visavisa21 May 29, 2013

    I am amazed at how NC demonizes their teachers, make the teachers out to be the "bad guys", and continue to bully them! Where I'm from a Masters degree shows that you have the desire, the motivation, and the determination to improve your skills and become that much more knowledgeable about your career as a teacher. You have spent extra thousands of dollars towards your career, to make you a better teacher for those children. I learned more valuable teaching experiences while obtaining my Masters than I ever did getting my BA, it enhanced my abilities and my overall understanding of teaching. I worked very hard to obtain that extra degree and I did it for the children that I teach. Where I am from it is a state requirement to get your Masters within 5 years of obtaining a public school teaching job! A Masters is respected!! But not here in NC! For a teacher to gripe about this issue, they are automatically greedy whiners. NC- you will lose your awesome teachers if this keeps up

  • U2 May 29, 2013

    Shame on politicians, they have no clue what is going on the classrooms. Teachers need to unite and create a union, enough with bashing teachers.

  • Krimson May 29, 2013

    End pay bump = more teacher leaving the field or the state... Why would any teacher stay when they could get paid more to do the same elsewhere???

  • RandolphBloke May 28, 2013

    I imagine few would argue that raises should be given based on performance. That isn't in question here. In the "real world" as one of the far right folks here speak of so often, people DO get paid for having higher level degrees. The folks arguing otherwise either think we're all stupid or are simply so incredibly ignorant that they should have no input on this at all.

  • Terkel May 28, 2013

    "Why do they refuse to incentivize my generation to teach?"

    Nice sentence structure. Anyway, I thought teachers were in it for the children, the children! That's what they say, when they're not whining. Why do they need to be "incentivized"?

  • Danny22 May 28, 2013

    I've seen a lot of teachers with special degrees tacked on. Advanced degrees do not indicate better teacher performance.

  • 426X3 May 28, 2013

    Kermit 60: Totally agree.

  • teleman60 May 28, 2013

    Another example of republicans intentionally destroying a school system instead of making it better by fixing it. Next will be the PRIVATIZE DRUMBEAT! Already creating a 2nd school board for their new charter schools. Taking tax dollars and public owned buildings for neighborhood schools for the wealthy.

    All in less than 6 months!!

  • tayled May 28, 2013

    That loud sucking sound you hear coming from Jones Street is the sound of many people with advanced degrees going to the private sector because they can't make ends meet teaching.

  • Come On_Seriously May 28, 2013

    Unless the House shows more sense (unlikely), it looks like we'll see if this new governor is serious about being a leader by vetoing this ridiculous budget for a number of reasons (this being one), or if he's a republican tool who's just along for the crazy ride.