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TeachersOccasional NC Policy Watch contributor and Asheville communications consultant Betsey Russell sent us the following essay about her experience with business plans (like the one advanced by Gov. McCrory this week) that target pay raises for junior employees at the expense of veterans:

The Value of Experience
By Betsey Russell

A few years ago, I sold my small company to a larger one. I had a small staff of experienced professionals at my firm, most with several years under their belts and a strong intention to stay in our line of work. They were hardworking, creative, and extremely valuable in terms of our overall profitability. In fact, their work is what helped make my firm attractive for the purchaser.

So, imagine my dismay when I was negotiating on behalf of my staff with the new company owner about compensation and benefits, and he suggested that instead of retaining these highly trained professionals, he might simply replace them with workers who were “younger and cheaper.”

This experience came to mind when I reviewed Governor McCrory’s plans to increase the salaries of starting teachers, but not the salaries of the valuable veterans I have so appreciated in my children’s classrooms. Read More

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Editorials from North Carolina’s major newspapers are starting to come in on the Governor’s plan to raise pay for about a third of the state’s teachers. Here are four:

The Greensboro News & Record:

“Why show respect for just one-third of teachers? Why only invest in some? Leaving out the two-thirds who worked the longest for low pay betrays a poor regard for their contributions. The governor should push for an across-the-board increase, along with an extra boost for starting salaries.”

The Charlotte Observer: Read More

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Pat McCrory 4Maybe it’s the ongoing game of musical chairs in Gov. Pat McCrory’s communications staff or maybe it’s just the man himself, but whatever it is, the Governor’s public pronouncements continue to be peppered with admissions and allegations that bespeak a remarkable degree of obliviousness to the facts and the implications of his administration’s policies.

Yesterday morning’s announcement on raising teacher pay for new teachers featured a classic example. As the Governor began his remarks on his proposal and attempted to lay out the groundwork for it, he made the following rather amazing (and, one has to note, grammatically-challenged) admission:

“Today sadly, the starting teacher pay in North Carolina makes only $30,800. You know, that’s not even enough to raise a family or to pay off student loans, which this new generation of teachers are having to borrow money to go to college at this point in time. How do we expect someone to pay back that loan at that starting salary?”

While the Guv deserves an “attaboy” for making such a statement (yes, teachers make too little and government should do something about it!) he deserves nothing but a big “what the heck?!” for the stunning hypocrisy and lack of awareness it shows with respect to so many of his other policies. Read More

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In case you missed it over the weekend, the Greensboro News & Record published an excellent editorial entitled “Keep our teachers.”

“It takes two hours to drive from Greensboro to Salem, Va.

How many Guilford County teachers made that trip Friday or were on their way this morning?

‘I’m hearing an awful lot,’ Liz Foster said Wednesday. She’s president of the Guilford County Association of Educators, and she’s worried about the state of her profession in North Carolina.

On the other side of the Virginia line, this is a time of opportunity. A consortium of 20 public school systems ran ads in small North Carolina newspapers touting a teacher recruitment fair at the Salem Civic Center Friday and today. For teachers interested in relocating, it said, a state education official would be there to provide licensing information.

Why would this be inviting to North Carolina teachers? For one thing, on average, teachers in Virginia are paid $4,000 a year more. In fact, teachers in almost every other state are paid more. It’s disgraceful how poorly North Carolina educators are paid.

But that’s not the only reason teachers are unhappy with their circumstances here….

Read the rest of the editorial by clicking here.

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Pat McCrory 4“The floggings will continue until morale improves” — that appears to be the new motto for the state’s conservative political leaders when it comes to its approach to public education. If you think that’s an exaggeration, check out this story by Travis Fain from the Greensboro News & Record.  As Fain reports:

“Top state officials are kicking around a plan to pay young teachers ‘significantly more money’ than they make now, according to state Sen. Jerry Tillman, who co-chairs a pair of key education committees in the N.C. Senate.

Jerry TillmanSuch a proposal would overhaul the state’s existing pay scale for teachers, jacking up salaries for teachers in their first five years instead putting so much emphasis on longevity, as the current scale does.

Tillman, in town Tuesday night for a political roundtable, said he discussed the plan last week with Gov. Pat McCrory.

‘He’s serious about it,’ said Tillman, R-Randolph.”

To which, all a body can say in response is: Say what? Do these guys not pay any attention at all? Read More