State Board of Education to receive teacher licensure and pay proposal next month

Recommendations to dramatically change teacher licensure and pay structures in North Carolina will be delivered to the State Board of Education (SBE) next month, said Van Dempsey, chairman of the Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission (PEPSC).

Dempsey shared a timeline for making the recommendations with the state board on Thursday during the board’s regular monthly businesses meeting. That meeting followed a two-day Bi-Annual Planning and Work Session, which the board held in Pembroke.

PEPSC will meet Nov. 10 to make final revisions to the “working document” the state board will likely be asked to approve.

Van Dempsey

“So, that’s where we are now and what I anticipate will happen on Nov. 10,” Dempsey said.

On Wednesday, SBE Attorney Allison Schafer told the state board that state law requires it to adopt or reject PEPSC recommendations. The state board is not allowed to make any “substantive changes” to rules recommendation that it adopts, Schafer said.

Here are additional governing rules Schafer shared:

  • If the state board rejects the rules recommendation, it must state with specificity its reasons for the rejection.
  • PEPSC may amend that rules recommendation and resubmit it to the state board.
  • The state board shall adopt or reject the amended rules recommendation.
  • If the state board fails to adopt PEPSC’s original and amended rule recommendations, the state board may develop and adopt its own rules.

Schafer noted that current law includes specific requirements for teacher licensure. The law must be changed before new requirements are adopted, she said.

Many of the current rules are inconsistent with the recommendations that PEPSC is likely to make, Schafer said.

“We can only adopt rules that are allowed to us in statute, so we need the change the statute first,” Schafer said. “So, the next step in developing a new licensure system would be for PEPSC to recommend and the state board to approve a request for changes to allow it to develop such a system or plan.”

The General Assembly will return to Raleigh in January and State Superintendent Catherine Truitt has encouraged the state board to take action soon to provide lawmakers with information and recommendations to move the process forward.

As Policy Watch previously reported, the proposed licensure and pay model be considered would create a system of entry-level certifications to bring more people into the profession. One certification would serve essentially as a learner’s permit. It would allow aspiring educators with associate’s degrees to teach for two years while they earn a bachelor’s degree. Teachers working under that license would receive a base salary of $30,000.

Veteran teachers in leadership roles could earn an advanced teacher license. A National Board Certified Teacher working under that license with a master’s degree and more than 25 years of experience could earn more than $80,000 a year.

North Carolina’s teachers are currently paid based on years of experience. Veteran teachers would be held harmless if they lost pay under the proposal.

Teachers have complained that the proposal is an unwanted move to a system of merit pay that places too much emphasis on students’ standardized test scores. They argue that a better strategy to recruit and retain teachers — a stated goal of the new proposal — is to pay them a fair wage.

Truitt has said the feedback that she’s received about the proposal is mostly grounded in “misinterpretation or misstatements” of fact. She contends the proposal is not a merit pay model.

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State Board of Education to receive teacher licensure and pay proposal next month