Wake school board: State incentives could turn teachers away
Posted October 15, 2013
Updated October 16, 2013
Cary, N.C. — Wake County school district leaders say a new state law aimed at improving teacher performance could turn talented teachers away.
Under the law, districts leaders must pick out teachers that are performing in the top 25 percent in the county. Those teachers will be offered four-year contracts with built-in annual raises worth $5,000 a year. All other teachers will be offered one-year contracts.
Teachers with tenure can keep that status until it is phased out in 2018. Wake Schools staff members say tenured teachers who accept raises as part of the top 25 percent will forfeit their tenure status.
The law is meant as an incentive to improve the quality of education in North Carolina schools, but the Wake County Board of Education said it might send the wrong message.
"More than 25 percent of our teachers are superior teachers," said board member Tom Benton.
Board member Kevin Hill, a former school principal, agreed.
"Strong teachers may not make that 25 percent," he said.
School system leaders say it will eventually mean the end of tenure or career status for teachers as well, which could have a significant impact on recruiting.
Larry Nilles, president of the North Carolina Association of Educator's Wake County chapter, said tenure doesn't guarantee bad teachers a job, it helps good teachers keep theirs.
"I know really, really good teachers – Wake County teachers of the year – that would not have been invited back by their principals because of personality differences," Nilles said.