Education

Without pay bump, teachers getting masters' worry about debt

Posted July 30, 2013

— The state budget signed by Gov. Pat McCrory last week eliminates salary increases for teachers who get advanced degrees, which means teachers currently enrolled in master's programs won't get the benefit.

Wake County math teachers Josh Griffin and Michael Hoyes Jr. both took out student loans to pursue master's degrees – an accomplishment they say will make them better educators.

"I decided to go back to N.C. State for my master's," said Griffin, who has been in the classroom nearly five years. "I wanted to do more for my students."

But when they finish the program, they won't have salary supplements of about $4,500 that Wake County teachers with advanced degrees used to receive as an incentive to further their education.

"In the education profession, you are not rewarded for getting higher education, what does that teach our kids?" asked Hoyes, who has seven years of teaching experience.

Griffin will graduate just three weeks from the salary increase cut-off in 2014.

"(It means) $350 to $400 a month to pay back student tuition that I don't have, and I don't know where to get," he said.

He wrote letters to several lawmakers criticizing the budget, which in addition to eliminating the salary supplements, provides no raises for teachers and cuts school supply funding. In one reply, Griffin said, a lawmakers told him the "General Assembly does not see the advanced degree supplement as the most meaningful of teacher performance."

Wake teachers speak out against cuts to advanced degree pay bump Wake teachers: Lawmakers have 'lost faith' in educators

Eric Guckian, McCrory's senior education advisor, reiterated that the governor's budget proposal included a small salary increase for teachers that didn't make it into the final document. He said the state should move toward a performance-based salary scale.

"We need to reform the way teachers are compensated in our state," Guckian said. "We wish the budget could have done more on that."

Overall, he said, the budget provides a 4-percent increase over last year in education spending.

The Department of Public Instruction, however, says that statistic is deceiving. When growth is factored in, the budget amounts to a funding loss of at least 1.8 percent.

Hoyes said he feels increasingly disillusioned by the cuts to education and investment in teachers.

"It is almost as if they have lost faith in our ability to do what we do," he said.

He's losing faith in the system as well. 

"I am going further and further in debt and leaving North Carolina," Hoyes said. "That is what I have to do to feel like what I am doing is worth something."

491 Comments

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  • archmaker Aug 1, 2:16 p.m.

    What ever happened to those Drivers Education teachers who had master's degress way back 15 or 20 years ago? Did their pay decrease? djofraleigh

    their jobs were privatized.

  • djofraleigh Aug 1, 1:41 p.m.

    What ever happened to those Drivers Education teachers who had master's degress way back 15 or 20 years ago? Did their pay decrease?

  • TomInWakeForest Aug 1, 1:40 p.m.

    Whatever happened to the good old days? I earned 2 masters degrees and I paid for both of them by working. In fact, I was dirt poor when I did it, but the degrees seemed to me to be worth the sacrifice at the time. Why do people now need to be compensated for their degree choices ... are the advanced degrees required for jobs they already have ... or is it just the lure of higher salary? Which of course brings us back around to whether an advanced degree is worth the sacrifice one has to make to obtain it.

  • maybelle Aug 1, 1:26 p.m.

    I'm a state employee and I need a pay bump too

  • immaannoid Aug 1, 11:33 a.m.

    "my experience with the core subject teachers that i know (about 50 or so) personally, is that they tend to have a degree in the subject they teach, with a minor in education." golorealist

    That is good when it happens, but it is not a requirement, which it should be.

  • golorealist Aug 1, 10:24 a.m.

    "I think we established that a Math Education degree is in no way shape or form equal to a Math degree.

    Hence, going back to my original premise that at least in high school that for English, Math and the Sciences, the teachers should have an actual degree in what they teach, instead of a substandard degree in "whatever Education"." - immannoid

    my experience with the core subject teachers that i know (about 50 or so) personally, is that they tend to have a degree in the subject they teach, with a minor in education.

  • archmaker Aug 1, 10:04 a.m.

    teaching is probably the only profession where employees steal supplies from home to bring to work...

  • immaannoid Aug 1, 9:55 a.m.

    "Of course someone not going into teaching would not have to take the education methods courses that a future teacher would have to take. The math credit hours required for the BS and the BS in secondary math at ECU are within six credit hours of being the same. Some math courses are common to both degrees and some are not which is not unusual. My alma mater offers chemistry degrees with concentrations in several areas so some courses are the same and others are not." Dat Mo

    I think we established that a Math Education degree is in no way shape or form equal to a Math degree.

    Hence, going back to my original premise that at least in high school that for English, Math and the Sciences, the teachers should have an actual degree in what they teach, instead of a substandard degree in "whatever Education".

    It is a cold hard fact that Education degrees do not hold water next to most other college degrees, except maybe sociology.

  • NC_interest Aug 1, 8:52 a.m.

    Ann Goodnight. An embarrassment herself, for how the whole school bond thing went down last time, and someone who chooses to run a hotel instead of do real work that might actually create positive and real change in our community.

    I prefer she keep her nose out of our business.
    NoTimeForStupidity
    July 31, 2013 6:48 p.m.

    If you have no time for Stupidity, why do you write such things about jobs , work , and hotels and business?

  • Plenty Coups Aug 1, 8:44 a.m.

    " The math credit hours required for the BS and the BS in secondary math at ECU are within six credit hours of being the same."

    2 classes. Basically the same. An education degree in math would substitute education classes in instead so the whole premise that math teachers have it easier is bogus. Like all the other excuses offered here as to why teachers shouldn't get raises.

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