This week I am stepping into the “PC” ring. As many of you know, I spent 39 years in the public classrooms of three different states. Recently, the local news station (CBS) on the number of Charlotte-Mecklenberg school teachers who had resigned this school year. By mid-October some 169 teachers had resigned their positions. “The president of the Charlotte – Mecklenburg Association of Educators, Charles Smith, believes the higher departures are due to low wages and the state not offering more money to teachers who earn advanced degrees.”
So what does all this mean?
The NC General Assembly…
***Eliminated 9,306.5 education position this school year. 5,184.5 were teachers; 3,850 were teacher assistants; and 272 were support personnel (guidance counselors, speech pathologists, psychologists, etc.)
*** The current budget provides NO pay increases for educators. (My son has been at the same pay scale for the last four years. He and his wife, who is also a teacher, are struggling to make ends meet. He works three jobs to see to the welfare of his wife and two children.) In 2007-2008, NC was ranked 25th in teacher pay. At the moment, they are at the bottom.
*** While removing all the incentives for teachers to stay in NC, the Legislature adopted a $50 million school voucher program.
*** The State Legislature has eliminated career status for ALL teachers. The new standard requires each school district to identify the top 25% of effective teachers. Unfortunately, they did not provide the criteria upon which to base these evaluations. Teachers will no longer receive tenure. They will be placed on 1-, 2-, or 4-year contracts. The top 25% will be given the option of receiving $500 to compensate them for the loss of their due process rights.
*** Educators will receive no additional pay for a master’s degree unless their job requires it (i.e., counselors, school psychologists, etc.) Those currently paid for a master’s degree will be grandfathered in. To me, this means NC students will receive inferior educations. How can one convince a student to be a life-long learner when the teacher is penalized for loving education?
*** Schools will be graded from “A” to “F.” The score will be based 80% on standardized test scores and 20% on growth. No other variables will be considered in the grading.
*** The national model for recruiting teachers (the NC Teaching Fellows Program) is no funded.
*** Textbook funding will be cut by $77.4 million dollars.
*** Classroom supplies will be cut $45.7 million dollars.
*** Limited English Proficiency (LEP) funding will be reduced by $6 million dollars.
*** Retired educators will receive NO Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA).