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Some of North Carolina’s teachers who have reached the end of their ropes are making their reasons for quitting their jobs very public.

As reported by The Carolina Mercury, Pam Lilley, a school library media specialist in Cornelius, N.C., created a Pinterest-style website last year where teachers who could not afford to teach any longer or who were outraged by the legislature’s education policy decisions and had decided to quit could publish either their resignation letters or reasons for quitting for the world to read.

“I have to take a stand somehow, and one of the ways I can do that is by quitting,” said one teacher, Anastasia Trueman. “I hate that I have to do that because it’s hurting the kids more than anybody, but if I really cannot sustain a living then that’s what I have to do.”

“The fact of the matter is that teachers have student loans, bills and families,” said a teacher who identified herself as Aimi. “I cannot count the number of times we have lamented the 20th of the month because we get paid on the 25th and no one has gas money. We borrow from our elementary aged children’s birthday stash to fill our gas tanks. We joke that pasta and butter are the staple in the house, but there is a cruel seriousness to it. We cancel doctor appointments because we can’t afford the co-pays. And this is NOT just the lament of new teacher on an unjustified pay scale. We are veteran teachers.”

To read more about why some North Carolina teachers are quitting, visit ResignNC.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that any hope for meaningful across-the-board pay raises for North Carolina teachers is withering on the political vine like a strawberry patch nipped by a mid-April freeze. Two new editorials spell this out.

As the Charlotte Observer explains in “A troubling sign for teacher pay,” it’s clear that a new task force on the issue that had gotten off to a promising start will now fail to deliver what’s really needed. As the editorial noted about the latest task force report :

“It’s a clear sign that despite assurances from Gov. Pat McCrory and Republican leaders that N.C. teachers should be paid more, most of them will be neglected again this year. Read More

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

Statesville’s Record & Landmark reports that when McCrory presented his ideas for teacher pay last week to those attending the Greater Statesville Chamber of Commerce annual awards dinner, local education officials in attendance weren’t too keen on his handiwork.

Specifically, McCrory offered three suggestions regarding changing the way teachers are paid in the state: Raising the salary of a teacher with zero to five years of experience from $30,800 to $35,000; tying teacher pay to the market value of the subject taught; and allowing for raises for highly effective teachers to the point that the best classroom teachers could earn as much as a principal.

I-SS Superintendent Brady Johnson said the first two ideas especially could result in hits to teacher morale, and thought that allowing the best teachers to get paid as much as a principal was a novel concept, although it might be difficult to design an evaluation system that makes fair judgments.

On allowing for greater raises to the most effective teachers, Brinkley cautioned that numbers could be skewed toward educators who handle students with fewer issues in their personal lives, and are thus able to perform better at school regardless of who leads the classroom.

And on merit pay, Johnson offered these thoughts:

“Private sector policies or merit-based pay don’t work in public education. We don’t choose the best-skilled students, we take them all,” Brinkley said.

Johnson said he felt that the pay scale should “entice our most effective teachers to stay in the classroom and go into administration.” But, looking at the big picture, he said he thinks teachers just need to feel like their profession is appreciated and respected.

“My personal feeling about teacher pay is this: People that go into public education, they don’t go into it for the money. They know that they’re going into a profession that is never going to pay them their true worth,” Johnson said. “Most teachers would be very satisfied if they just had a livable wage – pay the rent, put food on the table. If we could get teachers to the point where they could make a living doing their calling and not worry about working part-time jobs and how they’re going to pay for their children’s college education, that would be the best thing that we could possibly do.”

Read more about McCrory’s recent teacher pay proposals here and here. And read the full Record & Landmark story here.

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. Read More