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CarolinaCAN calls for teacher pay reforms

Increase base teacher pay by 4 percent, increase starting teacher pay to $36,000 by 2016, and reward “excellent” teachers, according to a report released today by CarolinaCAN, a member of a national school choice advocacy group known as 50CAN.

The Gates, Walton and hedge-fund* supported CarolinaCAN released a slick strategy document just a short time before the education community expects Gov. Pat McCrory to put forth his own proposal for increasing teacher compensation.

CarolinaCAN’s Executive Director, Julie Kowal, told NC Policy Watch that her group did not develop the plan in concert with lawmakers–but she has met with them. “I’ve been meeting with legislators and the Governor’s education team over the past several months to preview the pillars of what we’d like to see,” she said in an email.

Anecdotal reports point to North Carolina’s teachers leaving the state in droves after more than five years of a pay freeze and a legislative agenda enacted last year that many say hurt teachers and disincentivize the teaching profession.

A 4 percent pay increase would move North Carolina from 46th in the nation to 38th, just above South Carolina, based on 2012 rankings. That also presumes that other states don’t put into effect their own salary increases for educators.

The report also calls for reforming the salary schedule’s structure so that heftier pay increases come during a teacher’s first five years of service. The report cites research that points to teachers having a greater impact on student learning early on in their careers.

CarolinaCAN calls for reinstating the salary supplement for advanced degrees — but only for those who hold discipline-specific master’s degrees or PhDs. General education degrees don’t positively impact student learning enough to warrant financial compensation.

CarolinaCAN was launched last summer. Among 50CAN’s 2013 goals, the pro-privatization group pledged to run campaigns seeking education policy changes across seven states: Rhode Island, Minnesota, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey & North Carolina.

*While hedge-fund managers have been linked to parent organization 50CAN as well as other state-level CANs, CarolinaCAN rep Julie Kowal asserts that no hedge fund managers directly support the NC spin off, nor are they school privatization advocates.

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