Latest NC teacher compensation plan would significantly reduce education spending, encourage teacher turnover

Editor’s note: Our story includes a Wednesday update with comments and clarification by  Dr. Lodge McCammon.

A new plan to raise some teachers’ salaries while significantly reducing education spending is circulating among lawmakers and education professionals.

The NC 60/30/10 Plan, which “embraces high teacher turnover,” would place teachers on one of three tracks: Apprentice, Master or Career.

Sixty percent of all North Carolinian teachers would make $32,000/year in the Apprentice category and be allowed to teach for up to twenty years, at which time they must retire or move on to another industry.

Thirty percent of teachers would be eligible for the Master category if they have been teaching for three years, have completed an online training program, and can demonstrate mastery of the teaching method based on “customer survey data.” Master teachers would earn $52,000/year.

Ten percent of teachers would become Career teachers, making $72,000 if they have an advanced degree and can innovate and lead.

All teachers would be able to serve in North Carolina for no more than 20 years. If the plan were to be adopted, all teachers in North Carolina would be required to reapply for their jobs in 2015.

The man behind this plan is self-employed and self-described “educational pioneer”  Dr. Lodge McCammon. A former Wake County teacher and Friday Institute specialist in curriculum and contemporary media, McCammon heavily promotes the use of video recording to transform teaching and learning.

In a 2011 op-ed in the News & Observer, McCammon explains that flipped classrooms, in which students can view videotaped instructional materials at their own pace, should allow teachers to accommodate larger classroom sizes–and be paid according to how many students they can teach in one classroom.

Let’s allow a capable and willing teacher who has “flipped” his or her classroom to increase class sizes and teach more classes. The solution to the education problem becomes fewer core area teachers, each with more students – reallocating the salaries of a few traditional teaching positions toward the teachers who are willing and able to serve additional students.

This is a simple and fair merit pay solution. Let the most efficient and effective core teachers receive higher salaries for taking on the additional workload by paying them on a per pupil basis. For example:

Salary of a teacher with Gimbar’s level of education and years of service

  • Teaches four classes a day and has two planning periods
  • Has 115 students
  • Averages 29 students per class
  • Makes $360 per pupil, at a salary of $41,404

A possible salary for a teacher with Gimbar’s level of education and years of service

  • Teaches six classes a day with no planning periods
  • Has 192 students
  • Averages 32 students per class
  • Makes $360 per pupil, at a salary of $69,120

Rodney Ellis, president of the North Carolina Association of Educators, sees several problems with the 60/30/10 plan.

“How do you put a cap on how long anyone can stay in a profession that they’ve committed so much to,” asked Ellis. “That’s a smack in the face given what teachers have committed to their profession. And how do the skills you develop as a teacher translate into other professions, especially if they’ve perfected their craft and strived to become a master teacher?”

Ellis also questioned the requirement that all teachers must reapply for their jobs in 2015, wondering if teachers would automatically be terminated until they apply and are accepted back into professions.

With regard to increasing class sizes and paying teachers on a per pupil basis, Ellis said “I find it interesting that all data suggest that smaller class sizes help students. The reason we now have school vouchers is so that students will benefit from smaller class sizes in private schools, but now we’re encouraging large classroom sizes in public schools? Public schools are really being put at a disadvantage with this plan,” said Ellis.

NC 60/30/10 Plan architect McCammon is not just an educational pioneer – he’s a musical one as well. Check out this video of one of Dr. Lodge’s 50 States Project.

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