Latest NC teacher compensation plan would significantly reduce education spending, encourage teacher turnover

Editor’s note: Our story includes a Wednesday update with comments and clarification by  Dr. Lodge McCammon.

A new plan to raise some teachers’ salaries while significantly reducing education spending is circulating among lawmakers and education professionals.

The NC 60/30/10 Plan, which “embraces high teacher turnover,” would place teachers on one of three tracks: Apprentice, Master or Career.

Sixty percent of all North Carolinian teachers would make $32,000/year in the Apprentice category and be allowed to teach for up to twenty years, at which time they must retire or move on to another industry.

Thirty percent of teachers would be eligible for the Master category if they have been teaching for three years, have completed an online training program, and can demonstrate mastery of the teaching method based on “customer survey data.” Master teachers would earn $52,000/year.

Ten percent of teachers would become Career teachers, making $72,000 if they have an advanced degree and can innovate and lead.

All teachers would be able to serve in North Carolina for no more than 20 years. If the plan were to be adopted, all teachers in North Carolina would be required to reapply for their jobs in 2015.

The man behind this plan is self-employed and self-described “educational pioneer”  Dr. Lodge McCammon. A former Wake County teacher and Friday Institute specialist in curriculum and contemporary media, McCammon heavily promotes the use of video recording to transform teaching and learning.

In a 2011 op-ed in the News & Observer, McCammon explains that flipped classrooms, in which students can view videotaped instructional materials at their own pace, should allow teachers to accommodate larger classroom sizes–and be paid according to how many students they can teach in one classroom.

Let’s allow a capable and willing teacher who has “flipped” his or her classroom to increase class sizes and teach more classes. The solution to the education problem becomes fewer core area teachers, each with more students – reallocating the salaries of a few traditional teaching positions toward the teachers who are willing and able to serve additional students.

This is a simple and fair merit pay solution. Let the most efficient and effective core teachers receive higher salaries for taking on the additional workload by paying them on a per pupil basis. For example:

Salary of a teacher with Gimbar’s level of education and years of service

  • Teaches four classes a day and has two planning periods
  • Has 115 students
  • Averages 29 students per class
  • Makes $360 per pupil, at a salary of $41,404

A possible salary for a teacher with Gimbar’s level of education and years of service

  • Teaches six classes a day with no planning periods
  • Has 192 students
  • Averages 32 students per class
  • Makes $360 per pupil, at a salary of $69,120

Rodney Ellis, president of the North Carolina Association of Educators, sees several problems with the 60/30/10 plan.

“How do you put a cap on how long anyone can stay in a profession that they’ve committed so much to,” asked Ellis. “That’s a smack in the face given what teachers have committed to their profession. And how do the skills you develop as a teacher translate into other professions, especially if they’ve perfected their craft and strived to become a master teacher?”

Ellis also questioned the requirement that all teachers must reapply for their jobs in 2015, wondering if teachers would automatically be terminated until they apply and are accepted back into professions.

With regard to increasing class sizes and paying teachers on a per pupil basis, Ellis said “I find it interesting that all data suggest that smaller class sizes help students. The reason we now have school vouchers is so that students will benefit from smaller class sizes in private schools, but now we’re encouraging large classroom sizes in public schools? Public schools are really being put at a disadvantage with this plan,” said Ellis.

NC 60/30/10 Plan architect McCammon is not just an educational pioneer – he’s a musical one as well. Check out this video of one of Dr. Lodge’s 50 States Project.

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42 Comments

  1. Gene Hoglan

    January 21, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    This just might rank as the dumbest thing to ever come from these clowns, and that’s some stiff competition.

  2. C. Cox

    January 21, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    Where do these ideas come from? Also, what ignorant person would think this makes any sense???

  3. LayintheSmakDown

    January 21, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    Quite a bit of hysteria Gene, this is only “circulating” not being voted on or approved. I agree in the state presented here (likely only the points that would potentially “evicerate” Republicans) it is not something that is workable in that form. But, the scheme may contian some good ideas to use in regards to grading teachers and working toward incentives.

  4. R. Jones

    January 21, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    OK, that is it. I have lost my patience and my temper. After 13 years of sacrifice for this state and its children. Seriously? Nothing I have to say is printable. I am absolutely outraged.

  5. NCTeacher

    January 21, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    @layinthesmakdown – Please research your talking about grading teachers. So far, every type has been so flawed it has to be discarded. Grading teachers is like grading your doctor because the cancer patient refused to quit smoking and would not follow the doctor’s directions. Now, try to tell a 14 year old to do work on homework after school. Sometimes it happens and some times it doesn’t. Don’t blame the parents, most parents have to work multiple jobs in NC just to make ends meet.

  6. Alan

    January 21, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    Let’s not kid ourselves, please. The intention is to cause as much havoc in public education as possible , and once it’s been destroyed, point the finger at it and say,”see, I told you government schools don’t work”. All in the name of for profit “education”, or as some would like to call it, “competition”.

  7. allison33

    January 21, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    NC education: going, going, gone. Being led by people like this guy?
    Either this is a joke, or NC’s further-gone than the rest of the country realized.

  8. Kristen

    January 21, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    As both an educator and NC State graduate, I just lost a lot of respect for Lodge. The plan lowers the average teacher’s salary by 10% in a state that continuously ranks among the lowest 10% in national teacher pay.

    Any plan that “embraces high teacher turnover” is devaluing the teaching profession. Educators are not interchangeable parts and should not be treated as such.

    I am interested in reading more about Lodge’s rationale. Hopefully this “plan” was written as a parody. I will be following this plan’s progress. If it becomes more than just a laughable conversation piece I will certainly contact my representatives. I encourage everyone to read the plan, available at http://www.scribd.com/doc/201254376/NC-60-30-10-Plan

  9. Jeff Walker

    January 21, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    It seems to me that the NC educational system is about to implode. Multiple years of frozen teacher salaries, low test scores, no teacher’s union, and no clear direction in sight. Not to self, do not move to NC to teach, enroll my children, or plan to retire there.

  10. Lodge McCammon

    January 21, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    For the record, this article was published before I had a chance to speak with the author. These are, in a sense, some of the ideas that I have been brainstorming over the past few years. However, this write-up (including the document) is taken way out of context. My main goal is to find a way to motivate teachers to flip their classrooms because I truly believe it can help every educator and student. In fact, I am so passionate about this idea, that I continue to offer free training for teachers. This article was published before I was asked about it and contains information that was part of a private discussion. Contrary to what the article states, to my knowledge, this is not being discussed by policymakers. These ideas are part of a brainstorming process, by a small number of people, and were not meant to be shared publicly.

  11. Sean R.

    January 21, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    Very interesting. I’m an NC elementary teacher and I use ‘flipped’ lessons. I like the fact that I can spend more time helping my students in person as they use my videos. If I had more students, I could not provide that same level of assistance.

  12. Bill

    January 22, 2014 at 7:49 am

    Who will teach the students when all of the right-minded teachers leave for another state? This “plan” is about the dumbest thing I have ever heard. Maybe they should try this plan with politicians. Oh, wait, those who can, teach. Those who can’t make laws about teaching.

  13. Shu

    January 22, 2014 at 8:01 am

    I usually like Lodge’s work, but I don’t like this idea at all. And ncae, I agree that class size is important, but you can’t cite research by saying that “all the research says” -what research?
    I’m pretty sick of attacks on teacher pay being the solution to education spending; that kind of bully-revolution is ncga thinking, and it’s getting old -pun intended. According to the nat’l institute of ed statistics, in NC, for every teacher, there is another person employed in the education industry. I’d advocate going skeleton crew with responsibilities society puts on schools (http://www.jamievollmer.com/poster.html) and skeleton crew on anyone in the system not working directly with students. We are 36th in the world in math. Take a look at the link above, and ask yourself do the top 35 countries take on the same burdens we do in education, or do they focus on the basic job of education?
    What will kill this idea is that the limitation of 20 years is the same kind of thinking that EEOC laws prevent when it comes to firing people who are older because they are more expensive… what’s scary is that Lodge thinks it somehow becomes reasonable for teachers? And capped categories of teacher pay?? If a good teacher is stuck as an apprentice for a day longer than four years, see ya nc.
    Funding in NC per pupil is $8500. If we pay $360 per pupil as is proposed in the plan, that’s $2160 total. Where is the money going right now? What percentage of salaries are teacher salaries vs DPI, central offices, admins, and staff? Do we need all of those positions standing over teachers’ shoulders cracking whips? I realize some aren’t standing over teachers; some are providing other services. But is it the job of education to offer those services? On the backs of teachers?
    The goal shouldn’t be to cut spending while maintaining the status quo; that’s just not thinking outside the box enough. Simplify. Increase focus on relevance and job readiness by focusing on reading, writing, math, and science. Check out this model -this is thinking outside the box: http://www.edshucation.com/home-school-community-charter-school.html

  14. GOP Rules

    January 22, 2014 at 10:23 am

    @NC teacher,
    So how do you propose going forward? No accountability for teachers? Continue to have good and bad teachers compensated the same way? I am sure that is good for morale. Why should we grade students, and not have a way to evaluate the effectiveness of teachers…which in pretty much the way every other professional job out there works. Do we want to continue with teachers who are not effective, I know my son has encountered at least one per year in his middle school time where the teacher is totally ineffective and my wife and I have to take over teaching duties. Should those teachers be getting the same raise/review as a teacher that actually can reach the student?

    All this is about is the typical government (and/or union) job protection racket: Get in the position then you are set and cannot be fired no matter how well you do the job, or what you do.

  15. R. Jones

    January 22, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Mr. Lodge, I am very glad you are commenting here. I am stunned that you claim this is about flipped classroom. Flipped classroom is a useful teaching technique that teacher all across the country are adopting in various forms and contexts. Your work shows a fundamental lack of understanding of teachers. The idea that teachers hate change or won’t innovate is simply wrong. After a long career in education, I can tell you that all you have to do is allow a teacher to discover 1. how students can benefit from an innovation 2. give them the skills and resources to need 3. allow them to discover that it is a strategic use of their time and energy. Presto, they change and innovate. You don’t need some crazy social engineering experiment to make teachers do this.

    I would love to help you see what is completely and utterly flawed about your proposal. 1. Teachers are human beings. They have families and spouses. To say that this plan is good because it would force teachers to relocate to rural areas ignores the reality of our lives. 2. More than 10% of our teachers in this state already demonstrate the ability of your so called “career” teacher. 3. From being in the classroom and now being involved in hiring teachers, I can assure you there is not an overabundance of qualified teacher candidates waiting in line. In fact, this state is in the process of a mass exodus of teachers thanks to some sort-sighted policies from our state leaders. Again, we are not robots. When a teacher resettles to another state, they are not going to just pick up and move back like magic. 4. The camaraderie and collaboration required in a school setting is killed by proposals such as this. Schools are female dominated work places with slightly different cultural norms than the hegemonically masculine “professional world.” We like equality. We like solidarity. We don’t like competition with each other. It is what is best for students, and God help anyone who backs a teacher into a moral corner regarding students. You don’t stand a chance. 5. Why the completely arbitrary 20 year limit? Should doctors and lawyers retire after 20 years too? Your proposal smacks of ageism and dismissal of wisdom and experience in favor of blind ambition. I would hire one 20 year veteran instead of 5 first year teachers in a heartbeat.

  16. Lodge McCammon

    January 22, 2014 at 11:20 am

    If you have not already seen today’s update on this story, you can read it here: http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2014/01/22/update-nc-teacher-compensation-plan/

    “McCammon explained that his plan is nothing more than a brainstorming project between himself and a number of teachers and researchers.”

  17. Paul Charlton

    January 22, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    This proposal MUST have been copied from an episode of Saturday Night Live that I missed! RATS! Maybe I’ll catch it on a re-run down the road!

    Paul Charlton, retired NC educator

  18. Coach

    January 22, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    “GOP rules”, tenured teachers ARE evaluated, and they can be terminated. You can read all about it; G.S. 115 C – 325, sections 5d/ 5e. So your gov/ union protection comment is off base. And just for the record, there is no teacher’s union in N.C.

  19. Fed Up

    January 22, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    Sitting an enormous group of students of all learning styles and all backgrounds with their individual strengths and needs in front of videos is in no way responsive or equitable teaching. My priority as a teacher is and always has been the well-being and growth of my students. The state of NC continues to throw road blocks in between my students and success. While all of this may be just brainstorming, for some reason I have little doubt that the legislature would jump on board with such an asinine plan if the bottom line added up in their favor monetarily.

    It is also nice to be able to pay the bills. Turns out there are deserving students in need of passionate and well-educated teachers in other states! NC better have a plan hammered out to make it worth my while to stay that looks nothing like this pile of garbage or I am jumping ship like so many others before me.

  20. Wayne

    January 22, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    Thank you for clarifying Lodge. Many of us know frustrating it is to have your own words taken out of context. Developing public policies is never an easy thing, especially when dealing with people who don’t understand that children and people are not simply metrics. The retention of good employees and the weeding out of the bad ones is a big concern in all businesses and organizations. I think finding an efficient way of doing it while maintaining the respect of the teachers and the quality of education is going to be hard, but doable. Better funding will by no means cure it all, but it will definitely go a long way in fixing a lot of problems that teachers face throughout their days and careers.

  21. Shu

    January 22, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    Lodge, glad you’re following here. I’m glad to hear this was a thought exercise, and I apologize if I sounded like I was attacking you. Instead, I’ll attack the author, a person who posted this article irresponsibly. If it was a thought exercise, then attacking it is what it’s for, right? -in conversation over coffee with friends. Sorry for sounding caustic, and I’m interested in the next thought exercise. Here’s one for you: what are the most important skills and knowledge high school graduates should have, and how might we rebuild a system on $8500 per student to primarily focus on those in a mastery model before adding in the ‘extras’ that are nice to haves? In other words, what, exactly, do you think is ‘the job’ of education? -Shu

  22. Adam Waxman

    January 22, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    My guess is this is being pushed so that whatever the Governor releases will look good by comparison. Notice it’s dated 2013 and isn’t attached to any elected official – it’s just some academic’s idea.

  23. Shari

    January 22, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    Children being taught from video recordings and self pacing in larger classrooms? Might as well lock them in 8×10 cells with a tv and a toilet/sink and let them figure it out…. That doesn’t sound anything like prison, I’m sure the outcome would be the same.
    Oh and the potential implications this has on teachers who have sacrificed their lives, money, heart and soul to teach our kids and we just push more students and classes on their plate to make the kind of money they should be making in the first place, and the push them out of the door in 20 years?
    And I thought SC was dumb. Way to go NC “educational pioneer”, you made me happyto be a South Carolinian for once!

  24. Musicteacher

    January 23, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    There are many ideas for helping NC schools, full of innovation and creativity, that do not include the negative aspects of this plan. What the Hell?! Sending a teacher packing after twenty years of faithful service? Bullshit, Lodge. Stick to writing your songs and keep your private conversations private.

  25. World Lanuage Teacher

    January 23, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    Lecturing to students through video recordings and then monitoring independent work in science, history, math? Maybe. But what about the other subjects who need to be interactive and teach skills more than knowledge. In plain terms: can someone learn how to drive a car by watching videos? That would be the day I turn in my driver’s license. It would also, definitely, be the day I either look for another state or quit teaching altogether. We are really becoming the laughing stock for the rest of the world.

  26. MD Teacher

    January 23, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    Mr. McCammon, as an “educational pioneer,” you should be aware that the conversations and “brainstorming projects” you have with other leaders in education could be made public and could have serious consequences. If it was not your intention for this idea to ever be made public than I suggest that in the future you do not participate in such projects or attach yourself to them in anyway. This is the kind of “brainstorming project” that should be immediately thrown out. It demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the role and function of the teacher and the classroom (I believe your idea of flipping is flawed in the same sense, but that’s a different conversation.) As a supposed “expert” in the field of education, policy makers believe that your ideas are valuable. I hope you recognize that this idea is highly irresponsible, very dangerous, and if they it were to come to fruition would widen the socioeconomic, racial, and accessibility gaps that already plague public education.

    After just four years as a Spanish teacher in Baltimore County, MD I attained “Master Teacher” status in my evaluations. It didn’t bump my pay, it didn’t change my position, and apart from having an enriching experience in class, my students never knew I was a “master.” It was a recognition that encouraged me to continue researching, learning, and improving my methods. I’ll tell you how I became a master teacher. I was efficient, reflective, I had strong relationships with students, and I had incredible results. All of these you herald as the qualities of a so-called master teacher – a teacher who “flips.” I achieved this not through having my students watch and mimic videos all day, but by engaging them in a resource rich, conversation filled, question encouraging, creative and original thought producing, student-centered classroom where I catered each lesson from class to class and student to student to accommodate the needs and unique learning abilities of the kids I taught.

    Aside from being insulting to teachers and the amount of expertise and education they need in order to just enter the profession, this 60/30/10 idea makes certain assumptions about the way students learn that are inherently flawed. Students are not robots. They come from highly individual backgrounds that affect the way they learn and function in a classroom, and as a result they need highly individualized instruction from teachers who are motivated experts in their subject. This idea asks for babysitters, not teachers. I’d say $32,000/yr for a babysitter is actually a decent salary. But that’s what you will get – people will enter the profession who are not passionate, motivated, or encouraged in anyway to improve themselves or their craft. They will see endless barriers to job acceleration, so why even try? Good teachers will leave the profession, and bad – i mean really bad – teachers will fill that gap. Is this your aspiration for the future of public education in NC? Is this what you hope for as a “pioneer in education”?

  27. Sallee

    January 23, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    I suggest NC looks at the top ten states that are leading the country in public education and just follow their lead…. call me crazy but when you are ranked as low as 46 and 48 in the US for education, every idea you have is dumb! All the research has shown that small class size, small school size makes for a better learning environment. Why do you think all the private schools boast about their student teacher ratio. No one goes into teaching to be rich but they certainly don’t go into teaching to be on public assistance. Think of the type of person that will be willing to pursue a teaching career if the most you will be paid is $32,000. I suggest that the people making these suggestions get paid the same as teachers….. see how you like it….. I promise all of the good teachers will walk out the door!

  28. Matthew

    January 23, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    Perhaps I don’t understand – But if you were to restrict teachers careers to 20 years, in a matter of time we wouldn’t have any teachers above the age of 42 in the state assuming the vast majority of teachers come straight out of school. In my high school in Birmingham there were 2 of 100 that came from other industries into teaching.

  29. Bill Ferriter

    January 23, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    My favorite part of this whole kerfuffle is that despite describing himself as an “educational pioneer,” ol’ Lodge spent exactly 2 years and 2 months as a classroom teacher in a public school. What exactly does he know about effective instruction, the usefulness of flipping as a teaching practice, and/or the kinds of #edpolicy decisions that might attract and retain teachers?

    #sheesh

    Prove it to me, Lodge. Spend a decade in the classroom — working with real kids and dealing with real challenges — before you start pushing your wisdom on those of us who are actually practitioners.

  30. Dixie Soul

    January 23, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    I have one suggestion to teachers who get discouraged by such news, our God is in control of all things. He knew you before you were born, he knows every hair on your head, and he knows your end so PRAY for a change and let the holy spirit intercede. Spread that message, see what will happen. I dare you.

  31. KDB

    January 23, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    And exactly HOW is this supposed to increase the quality of education our kids receive? The fact that this pile of crap is even being CONSIDERED makes me seriously question the competence of those setting our state’s education policy. I don’t care how many degrees any of these idiots hold. As a parent, I can assure you I will either resort to home school or private school if this poor excuse for s plan is executed.

  32. almk

    January 23, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    Hi Dr. McCammon,

    I was excited to see you following this story. I was wondering if you could provide any research that you or others in the field have done to validate either the 60/30/10 plan, or your proposal for increasing classroom size. Your website did not have a list of your publications, and your published 60/30/10 plan also did not cite any references. I’m just wondering, because you make a lot of assertions about teaching quality, about the percentage of teachers who currently qualify for each level, about increasing class sizes, etc. that I would be interested in seeing published support for. Thanks.

  33. Katherine Cagle

    January 23, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    My daughter’s nanny makes $32,000 a year and she isn’t required to teach the children anything! If I made that salary I’d rather be a nanny. I am a retired teacher and am so sad for the way teachers are treated, as if they were molding widgets rather than dealing with individual students with a variety of learning abilities and home support. Most teachers I have known are quite good and the few I have known who weren’t either left the profession of their own volition, or were “encouraged” to leave.

  34. Alison Bryan

    January 23, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    Is this a joke?

  35. Jenn

    January 24, 2014 at 4:38 am

    Flipped classrooms are a wonderful idea but it has nothing to do with teachers. Many students do not have the access to technology at home or the support of their parents to be able to work like that at home. A kid who has to go home and care for all their younger siblings because their Mom works second shift or the kid who has no internet is not going to be able to succeed in a flipped classroom environment. We need to even the playing field before we could try to seriously use a flipped classroom model.

  36. Lou Giglio

    January 24, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    What is an educational consultant? In most cases, someone who has “a new teaching plan/process/strategy” that will revolutionize education! After he or she makes money by selling “the plan” to school districts, they move on to develop another “revolutionary plan” so that they can make more money!

    Meanwhile the school districts that have bought into Plan A are left holding the bag because there is no longer any support for it’s continued implementation!

  37. JKP

    January 24, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    I’d be laughing right now IF I could be certain this nightmare would never become reality, of course I can’t do that because the insanity continues daily. Beginning to wonder if I’m in alternate universe.

  38. Pat

    January 24, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    Why would anyone in their right mind take a job that pays so little and in the end is “fired” after 20 years of service regardless of how good they are? Does anyone intentionally start a career that they know will end when they are 42?

    Does this sound the slight bit logical to anyone?

  39. Kevin

    January 24, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    Hey NC State Legislature, Why don’t you just fire every teacher in the state and get it over with. Yet another idiotic ideas from people who have no idea how to teach. On any given day my classroom is full of students whose one parent, works three jobs to keep food on table and the house heated, a drug addict, doesn’t work and doesn’t care about school, wants to left alone, I deal with them at home you deal with them at school.

    Do the elected officials know where education really begins? Try at home. Schools aren’t failing and teachers aren’t failing, society is failing.

  40. GetYourFactsStraight

    January 25, 2014 at 11:51 pm

    I think if anyone reads this article by Lindsay Wagner they need to read the whole blog because Dr. Lodge McCammon replied to this article on Jan. 21st at 10:28pm. As he states this was taken out of context and was nothing more than himself and a few others that were brainstorming an idea. No big event, just a few people talking about an idea.If it is “circulating around Raleigh” it has not made it to the legislature as it has not been presented for debate let alone considered as a bill!!! When you finish this blog then look at the preceding one by Diane Ravitch where she titled her article ” NC Legislatures are considering a law that would demolish the teaching profession.” May I suggest not to take anything by anyone as FACT till you check it out for yourself and then you just may find out it’s not FACT but hearsay.

  41. Peggy

    January 26, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    I give up. The school board has already done enough damage without Dr. Lodge’s
    assistance.
    I can’t believe this! I really can’t.
    What a mess!

  42. Noyes Harrigan

    January 29, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    I started flipping lessons this year, and it has been one of the best strategies I’ve ever come across for maximizing the use of my face-to-face time with students. Like most things that work well in education, it was started from the ground up by teachers, NOT from the top-down.

    I knew it would only take a few years for some misguided people to 1) mandate flipping from the top- down and 2) destroy it usefulness by increasing class size and removing the individualized teacher-student time it allows.