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McCrory announces plan to give 450 teachers $10,000 bonuses with Race to the Top funds

GTNThis summer, approximately 450 teachers in North Carolina could receive $10,000 bonuses if they are selected for the Governor’s Teacher Network (GTN), a federally funded initiative that will ask teachers to share their best work around instruction and professional development in exchange for a pay bump.

Gov. Pat McCrory, along with the NC Department of Public Instruction, established GTN with funds from the federal Race to the Top grant. Teachers who apply and are selected to participate in GTN will serve for one year as Race to the Top-aligned instructional and professional development experts, in addition to their normal teaching duties.

Applicants are expected to submit project proposals, which could include developing professional development sessions and materials, or creating unit plans, lesson plans and assessments for the state’s Home Base system, a suite of web-based technology tools designed to elevate teaching.

“The Governor’s Teacher Network is a fantastic opportunity for teacher leaders to offer their very best thinking and expertise to support their peers across the state,” said Gov. McCrory in a press release. “Their work will directly result in North Carolina teachers having access to more resources that will help them help students achieve at greater levels.  Best of all, these resources will be designed for NC teachers, by NC teachers.”

The proposal sounds similar to a plan McCrory floated last summer, when he announced his intention to use $30 million of Race to the Top funds for an Education Innovation Fund that would reward 1,000 top teachers with $10,000 stipends. That proposal was met with criticism by State Board of Education members at a meeting shortly after his announcement.

In September, NC Policy Watch reached out to Gov. McCrory’s education advisor, Eric Guckian, to see if the Education Innovation Fund was on the table. While the name seemed to have changed by then, policymakers were still moving forward with the idea.

“The goal of the Governor’s Teacher Empowerment Network is the same as the Innovation Fund was, to get the money in teachers’ pockets,” said Erin Gray, Guckian’s assistant. “However, the process of how the teachers receive this money is different. We want to be able to reward as many teachers as possible with this network and produce innovative [sic], master, leader teachers to not only benefit from the extra pay, but will be active to reform schools and lead other teachers.”

Today’s announcement about the GTN comes at a time when the state’s entire teacher workforce has not received a raise since 2008, with the exception of a 1.2 percent pay increase in 2010. Recently ranked 46th in the nation in teacher pay for the second year in a row, North Carolina is also dead last in teacher salary growth over the past decade.

Gov. McCrory recently proposed boosting the base pay for beginning teachers up to $35,000 by 2015. Beginning teachers, who account for around 20 percent of the teaching workforce, have been stuck at the bottom of the salary schedule since 2008, making just $30,800 annually. McCrory characterized the proposal as a “first step” toward eventually helping all teachers.

Megan Moss, a young teacher who was grateful for McCrory’s proposed pay increase, recently told NC Policy Watch she would still rather all teachers get a raise.

“I work alongside a teacher who has 25 years of experience,” said Moss, a second-year elementary school math teacher in Washington County who would benefit from McCrory’s proposal. “She is invaluable in terms of the knowledge she passes on to me in the classroom. To think that the state doesn’t value her is just plain hurtful,” said Moss, who came to North Carolina from Georgia to pursue a teaching career.

It’s not clear whether or not the Governor’s Teacher Network will continue after the 2014-15 school year, and those who do receive the $10,000 bonuses should note that it does not appear to be a permanent pay raise.

Applications for the Governor’s Teacher Network are due April 21; teachers will be notified of selection no later than May 30. For more information, including selection criteria, click here.

 

 

12 Comments

  1. Jack

    March 24, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    Everyone has their price. At least this is what the $10,000 offer from the Guv is saying. This obvious divide and concur ploy is what people of wealth do with their money. In this case the money isn’t the Guv’s but rather the people’s money he’s giving to the people – well at least 450 people if things go as he wishes.

    So, it seems as if Uncle Pope has given little Pat some pocket change to spread around to effect selective-change.

    On the one hand Mr. McCrory says that it’s a “…fantastic opportunity for teacher leaders to offer their very best thinking and expertise to support their peers across the state,” while on the other hand he is insulting those same teachers with a $10,000 bribe.

  2. ML

    March 24, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    That is why collective bargaining is so crucial. To counteract the divide and conquer schemes that the wealthy have used for centuries.

  3. Sue Garriss

    March 24, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    This is not a bonus or reward. This is pay for another job added to their normal teaching duties. Granted, it is more pay that they usually receive for sharing their expertise or at their second job, but it is not a bonus or reward and not a permanent pay increase. For the record, the teachers are already sharing their expertise at their schools and there have been opportunities for years (not as many recently due to cutbacks)for teachers to write curriculum and share best practices state-wide. Hopefully, they really didn’t mean that the network would PRODUCE innovative, master leader teachers because one would hope that those are the ones who would apply!!!

  4. gregflynn

    March 24, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    Just great. We’re headed into the last quarter and McCrory wants to distract 100s if not 1000s of teachers in the next four weeks as they scramble to compete for $10,000 when they should be focusing on getting their students ready to the year at or above grade level.

  5. gregflynn

    March 24, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    typo: to *end* the year

  6. Lucinda

    March 24, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    This is so far removed from what really improves teaching. When I was in the classroom, I learned far more from hallway conversations with experienced teachers than I ever did from planned CE programs offered by the ‘system.’

    I am so very glad my children are no longer in the system.

  7. Kristi

    March 24, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    Are we supposed to do this before, after or during benchmark and EOG/EOC prep? Can we take a “short session” and use, oh say, a week of personal leave to accomplish this? Nope, I forgot, we can’t find subs and we can’t use personal leave. I guess we could pull this off between 11 and 3 AM – about the only time most of us sleep.

  8. Amy

    March 24, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    Of the 450 teachers I would venture to guess that not a single one of the would be a PE, art, chorus,band, or any other teacher that’s not in one of the core subjects. Majority of them will most likely be Language arts, Math, some science and possibly a history teacher.

  9. Gina Gardner

    March 25, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    As a teacher, this is a slap in the face. As if we are not doing this already???This is not going to encourage collaboration among teachers. It is going to create animosity and the loss of more good teachers. I have been teaching since 1987. I will most likely retire in NC making under 50,000.

  10. Kevin

    March 25, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    Another dumb idea… Let’s just make it simple. Give ALL teachers a raise. Enough said.

  11. LayintheSmakDown

    March 26, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    Kevin, that is what they are working on….but you will not read that on this site as it does not fit the “Blueprint” memo to evicerate Republicans. Unfortunately they have a lot of headwinds what with all the government handouts like Medicaid eating most of the budget, but it will be on the radar in the near future.

  12. Dee

    March 26, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    Here’s a novel idea, if any teacher decides to take the gov up on his offer, we all just ignore that teacher… No more voluntary collaboration, No more sharing, No more interaction with him or her. I am not suggesting any outward ostracism just passive banishment. Isolate them. If
    you are required to be at a professional development meeting with this person, just be present but do not actively partake. Passive resistance.