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To the surprise of some of its own members, a legislative task force studying alternative ways to compensate teachers in the state put forth a report today asking the General Assembly to consider a short-term goal of significantly increasing the salaries of entering teachers and those teachers who are most likely to leave–which would be teachers with less than ten years of experience.

That recommendation mirrors Gov. Pat McCrory’s recent teacher pay proposal that would reward only beginning teachers in the state with significant pay raises, bringing their salaries up from $30,800 to $35,000 by 2015.

But task force members who were not lawmakers — teachers, principals, and other education stakeholders – were taken aback  by the report that bears their names, indicating their feedback wasn’t taken into account during the report’s development.

“Why were we brought here? I don’t sense the education professionals on this panel had much input in the report,” said Timothy Barnsback, President of the Professional Educators of North Carolina (PENC). Read More

More than 94 percent of respondents to a survey conducted by researchers at UNC-Wilmington said that they felt public education in North Carolina is headed in the wrong direction and overwhelmingly trusted teachers and administrators — not lawmakers — to make educational decisions for the state’s public schools.

Residents of North Carolina, 80 percent of which were parents with children in public schools, were surveyed about the quality and direction of education in the state and asked to react to recent legislative decisions passed by the General Assembly, including the removal of additional funding for teachers who earn advanced degrees, implementation of a voucher program, removal of class size limits, and the abolishment of tenure, among others.

  • More than 85 percent of respondents disagreed with the state’s decision to provide low-income families with private school vouchers.
  • Ninety-six percent of participants disagreed with the removal of additional pay for teachers earning a master’s degree in education.
  • More than 76 percent of respondents disagreed with the elimination of teacher tenure. 
  • Ninety-six percent of participants disagreed with the removal of class size caps.
  • Ninety-five percent of respondents disagreed with the decision to not increase teacher salaries in 2013 for the fourth time in five years.

Participants were also given the chance to respond to the survey in their own words. Below are a few of those comments:

“These laws will not improve NC education, but destroy it!”

“I am just very disappointed in the direction NC education is headed. I hope to find work in another state that values children and education. NC is no longer that state.”

“I am shocked, angered and saddened by the direction of education in this state, all at the hands of the current legislature and governor. Because of these devastating changes, and in spite of a strong desire to teach again, I will not likely re-enter the profession.”

“My family is very concerned about the direction in which the 2013 NC State Legislature seems to be taking our public education system. We have two children enrolled in public schools now, and have witnessed firsthand the exodus of quality teachers and the swelling of class sizes. At all levels, we will be paying attention to candidates’ attitudes, statements, and actions regarding this issue and will vote accordingly.”

Craven County lawmakers Rep. Michale Speciale and Sen. Normal Sanderson held a session with more than 75 teachers at New Bern-Craven County Public Library on Monday night, according to the Sun Journal.

Teachers hurled questions at the lawmakers about their actions on teacher pay, vouchers, class size and many other issues that Sanderson and Speciale supported during the 2013 legislative session.

“My purpose for being here is to answer your questions,” said Speciale, but “I don’t want to get into a debate. This is about our trying to hold ourselves accountable.”

Speciale told teachers that the General Assembly did not cut education spending but that they actually spent $400,000 more when you “consider that previous allocations came with the expectation that 40 cents on the dollar be returned to the state.”

Also from the Sun Journal:

Asked about eliminating the $3,500 annual stipend for a teacher getting a master’s degree, Speciale said he had been shown studies that masters’ degrees and class size had little to do with teaching success.

That first got laughter, requests to see the studies, testimonials about how much both matter, and the comment from one teacher that she had spent her own time and $40,000 in tuition from her own money and will miss the cutoff for any payback by two weeks.

Speciale said he had been told that the average teacher makes $54,000, which also brought laughter and a comment from one teacher that she has been a teacher for 27 years and doesn’t make $54,000.

Read the full story here.

trackingCuts-web-600Franklin County Schools Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance, Doug Moore, told NC Policy Watch that 2013 is not the first year they’ve had to cut teacher assistant positions.

“Really this has been going on for the past five years or so,” said Moore. “Over that time we’ve had to cut around 23 teacher assistant positions through attrition.”

Moore said that Franklin County will also have to make cuts to instructional supplies –again, a trend over the past five years or so—and other areas, but they are still working through identifying where they’ll have to make the cuts.

Franklin County joins a growing list of school districts that have been forced to make difficult cuts as the 2013-14 school year approaches. Read More

trackingCuts-web-600The Hickory Daily Record reports that Iredell-Statesville Schools laid off 40 teacher assistants and eliminated 14 teacher positions through attrition back in June.

But the final budget numbers have required even further cuts – ISS will have to lose an additional 32 teachers and 20 teacher assistants.

That totals 46 teachers and 60 teacher assistants lost.

“There are people right now that think they have jobs that will not have jobs,” Dr. Alvera Lesane, associate superintendent for human resources for I-SS, told the Hickory Daily Record a mere 17 days before the start of school.

Iredell-Statesville joins a growing list of school districts that have been forced to make difficult cuts as the 2013-14 school year approaches. Read More