I didn't make it to Raleigh for the final meeting of the General Assembly's teacher compensation task force, but the report is online and it's pretty much as predicted: This panel is tossing the topic back to legislators and asking them to tap the state Board of Education for another round of study.
The recommendations are broad and fairly obvious: Focus on a pay system that benefits students, raise pay for newer teachers as a short-term goal (a tactic already proposed by Gov. Pat McCrory and GOP leaders) and make across-the-board hikes and "modernization" a long-term goal. Just how long isn't clear, but a draft proposal suggests giving the state board another year to study teacher compensation, with a goal of putting something in place in 2016-17.
The report indicates that the task force was intrigued by career-ladder approaches such as that being piloted with Charlotte-Mecklenburg's "opportunity culture" program, and by the IMPACT teacher evaluation model in use in District of Columbia Public Schools.
"There are no examples of state-centered comprehensive compensation models that have positively impacted student achievement and have been sustained," the report notes. "Reform models that emphasizes (sic) local flexibility within evidence-based parameters may be a more promising and sustainable strategy."
The lack of specifics on how to raise salaries and modernize the pay plan drew fire from some of the educators and legislators who served, the AP's Gary Robertson reports. "We've heard a lot of presentations and propaganda but there really hasn't been a whole lot of meaningful discussion going forward," said Timothy Barnsback, president of the Professional Educators of North Carolina.
Judy Kidd, president of the Classroom Teachers Association, said the task force was "playing kick the can."
State Rep. Tricia Cotham, D-Mecklenburg, posted a critical synopsis on her Facebook page: "I called the committee report 'fluff' and argued that many teachers are hurting NOW. Teachers across NC are trying to make ends meet as we speak. I challenged my colleagues to 'put their money where their mouth is' and send the message that we as a state value our teachers, our children, and education."