Berger's education bill passes committee over objections
Several groups representing educators and school administrators say they still object to the bill, including a provision that eliminates teacher tenure.Posted — Updated
The bill next goes to Senate Appropriations and Berger, the president pro tempore of the Senate, told reporters the plan was to pass it out of his chamber as a stand alone measure. It's worth noting that the House has not accounted for any of the cost of the bill -- $45 million next year rising to $82.3 million in 2016 -- in the budget proposal it will send to the Senate.
For a time, the most intense discussion in the committee revolved around school calendars. School systems in areas of the state that get lots of snowfall say they don't have enough flexibility to deal with snowy winters, while tourism businesses say they need to ensure that their workforce will be out of school in time to staff their summer jobs.
School calendar bills have been very controversial in prior legislative sessions.
As well, the bill faces opposition from a number of teacher and school administration groups. Among them:
She also said that provisions of the bill that require teachers be hired on one-to-four year contracts could lead to lawsuits from teachers who lose their tenure status.
And, she said, some school districts would not be able to create the "performance pay" plans called for under the bill.
"We have districts who, in all honesty, do not have the capacity to develop performance pay plans," she said.
"We believe that assigning letter grades to schools largely on test performance may mislead the public, be overly punitive to schools, and ultimately erode the parental and community support that is essential to the continuing viability of our schools," Joyce said.
Joyce said that principals should have the power to grant exceptions to requirements third graders pass reading tests in order to pass their year.
"We understand the many folks are still operating under the assumption that bad teachers cannot be fired in North Carolina. That is simply not true," she said.