Monday, April 14, 2014

Still no plan for teacher pay reform

A task force created by the General Assembly last summer to study teacher pay and effectiveness will hold its final meeting in Raleigh today to wrap up a report for state lawmakers.

So will we finally get a look at North Carolina's long-range plan for identifying and rewarding the best educators?



"It's heavier on goals and principles and thin on specifics,"  said state Rep. Rob Bryan,  a Mecklenburg Republican who co-chairs the task force.  He said the state is still early in the process of working through an issue that has challenged politicians and educators across the country.

Watching North Carolina and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools slog toward pay reform feels a bit like watching  "Groundhog Day,"  without the assurance of a happy ending.  Over and over,  study groups convene and conclude that the issue needs more study.

The big picture is the easy part.  Is it essential to identify the teachers who make the biggest difference for kids?  Absolutely.  Should they be rewarded for excellence?  Of course.  Do N.C. teachers deserve a raise and a better pay system?  Most would say yes.

The stumper is how to identify those teachers,  how to distribute the rewards and above all how to pay for it.  Last summer the state legislature created the much-reviled 25 percent plan as a first step and charged the task force with taking a longer view.

Bryan said his group is interested in getting local districts to create their own pay plans,  perhaps with a state fallback for those that can't or won't.  That's in line with what CMS is seeking as an alternative to the state-mandated four-year contracts and $500-a-year raises for 25 percent of qualified teachers.

But it was just over a year ago that the state invited local districts to submit performance pay plans for consideration.  CMS was initially gung-ho,  appointing  (of course)  a teacher task force and hiring consultants to study the issue.  But ultimately the district missed the deadline and said there was little point creating a detailed plan without state money to make it happen.

What we've seen so far is a series of pilots and experiments that fizzle when the money runs out.  The conclusion is inevitably that the effort needs more study  --  and more money.

Today's meeting will at least bring a new visual device:  College students putting 10-foot ladders outside the legislative building to illustrate the need to  "rebuild the ladder"  to the teaching profession.  Lynn Bonner of the News & Observer wins this week's round of  "identify that advocacy group;"  click here to see what she found out about who's behind Students For Education Reform-North Carolina and who's footing the bills.


Anonymous said...

How many millions have been spent on test creation and consultants over the last 6 years?

Ann please follow the money !

I remember millions spent by CMS on test creations just to junk them for the state tests the following year.I remember Andy "I DONT KNOW" Baxter and his 100,000 plus salary giving the same answer over and over to every school he visited.

How many millions have been spent on these PfP, or whatever is the flavor of the year creations. How many millions have been spent over the last 6 years on consultants that come and go?

I am still here. I see new and experienced teachers leaving in droves. I see my vision and dental benefits being eliminated never to return. I see my health benefits cut.I see my pension benefits cut never to return. I see the at leat ten thousand dollars lost in my salary, benefits and inflation costs. I dont see where all the millions went to in tests and consultants these past 6 years. Ann, how much was spent and what measurable results do the taxpayers of Charlotte have to show for it?

The best and brightest are NOT coming into this profession in Charlotte and the ones you have are leaving. Morrison, you should do a cost benefit analysis and see if all those millions that have been spent could now be spent on something such as vision benefits. There should be 3 categories of teachers. Developing, Proficient and moving them out the door.

Stop wasting all the funds and start giving them back to the front line worker that is actually in the classroom.

Aubrey Moore said...

Has it never occurred to the geniuses in the legislature that if there was a way to make teacher pay based on some productivity scale, then fifty states over one hundred years would have found it before they set out to do the impossible? The effectiveness of schools is so tied to the communities they serve that any measure of productivity has to be scaled to that community, not to the effectiveness of some ideal community. Individual teachers inside any school can be highly effective without that effectiveness showing up in the overall performance of a school, basically locking that teacher into a productivity category that does not recognize them for what they do, yet not negating the good they do for individual students every day.

By the same token, ineffective teachers can hide within a school with good overall results because their weaknesses are hidden by the overall strengths of the school, and they can be falsely recognized and rewarded when they did nothing to deserve the accolades. I have seen this on many occasions.

The genius of a people is not that they find one logic that can be tweaked to apply to ever human situation, it is that they find the logic for every endeavor that allows them to maximize the effectiveness of that endeavor.

This legislature is barking up a tree that has no reward hidden inside its branches and quite honestly, they are beginning to look a little stupid in their denial of their own failures. I am ashamed of my local representatives for they are displaying an ignorance in public that is more profound than they will ever recognize. This whole movement is bound for failure and the sooner the better so that people not so tied to philosophical purity finally come in and put a fix to it that works.

Unknown said...


If the State’s Teacher Pay task force were studying the best way to parachute from a burning airplane it would go like this.

1. Jump
2. Check to see you have a parachute.

Or in terms that match the teacher pay problem

1. Promise to pay teachers more
2. Pray the money will be there.

This isn’t an outline I make lightly. Read below what the General Assembly’s advisory division, NCFRD, said about third quarter revenues.

“…The new tax laws enacted this past session (S.L. 2013-316) will increase the difficulty in gauging Economy-based changes in revenue, adding greater uncertainty to the revenue picture.”

Now I ask you, is the task force looking more at revenues than the problem of fairly paying educators?

Bolyn McClung

Anonymous said...

Nobody batted an eye when South Carolina passed us in teacher pay. When Mississippi and North Dakota do it will be he final straw as no one would move here to teach. Mccrory/Popes idea of giving first year teachers a huge increase but no one else will not fool anyone. 400 million more in revenue last year and zero went to increase teacher pay.

Anonymous said...

When legal citizens are paying for all these so called pro athletes who make up to 50 million salary annually with endorsements for 4 months work all the while tv cable bills rise twice annually along with everything like food, baby milk/diapers, clothing, gas, insurance, freebies like welfare food stamps disability etc, transportation, goes thru the roof what do you expect?

Paychecks only go so far and now even health insurance costs have been socialized with 200 to 300% premium increases as deductibles skyrocket from 500 to 5000 on the average to redistribute income all the while the economy stays negative and the national debt rises from 10 trillion in 2008 to 19 trillion today?

What is the point of pro sports that is doing nothing but raping the masses to pay these billions in salaries using tv ads that end up costing trillions to the consumer? You dont even have to own a tv to pay under this socialist system.

And just last week democrats in Congress were complaining their 180,000 annual salaries were not enough although that is peanuts to these pro sports salaries.

Why has sports salaries in only 40 years risen over 10,000% while teacher pay has only risen 100%, maybe? This is pure insanity.

The local pampered spoiled NFL franchise just got 150 million for remodeling and the NBA who plays free in a city owned 500 million new arena already demands 50 million for improvements?

This goes beyond all known insanity as taxes continue to rise on the 50% who are forced to pay them that is never ending also.

And they want more socialism and more redistribution in DC?

Why not outlaw pro sports and start over from scratch to make it a part time job making a maximum of 1000 per game per player like it was only 40 yrs ago with all tv contracts outlawed?

Maybe teachers can get a decent raise then and be considered more important than these idiot pro sport extortionist crooks.

Former and now deceased Belmont Abby and Marquette great coach Al McGuire said all sports were nothing but a coffee break aka irrelevant. He was a genius.

Anonymous said...

The person who posted this statement was spot on, you are so correct! And I will go oen step further by saying that if we are not careful, we may end up with a major shortage of teachers willing to teach in lower income schools.

"The effectiveness of schools is so tied to the communities they serve that any measure of productivity has to be scaled to that community, not to the effectiveness of some ideal community. Individual teachers inside any school can be highly effective without that effectiveness showing up in the overall performance of a school, basically locking that teacher into a productivity category that does not recognize them for what they do, yet not negating the good they do for individual students every day."

Anonymous said...

Republican Legislature and puppet Governor have no real plan or intention of addressing the teacher pay issue. Sure - teachers will get a small increase - but it will do nothing to move NC out of the bottom quartile.

Anonymous said...

The state of North Carolina and its people deserve much more than what they are receiving now. Gov. McCrory started off with big words and very small actions. Perhaps when the Governor asks people to keep him from being a one term wonder then he can reflect upon what he has done wrong.

Anonymous said...

To quote Dr. Judy Rink, "Gates (and others) have found that it is easier to eradicate all diseases in the world than to define effective teaching". Teachers either have "IT" or they don't. Unfortunately there is no adequate way to define the "IT" as there are too many DYNAMIC variables. Interaction between a student and a teacher cannot be isolated to ANY of the existing models. Good luck!! The model that I follow is Socrates. I dare to see an administrator/legislator "Box" him onto a sheet of paper.

Anonymous said...

The legislature will again talk up VAM and how teachers should be rewarded only when they show their students are learning. The legislature will claim the formulas and SAS are smart enough to figure this out and we absolutely must follow this route because it is absolutely the answer to fixing out schools.

And then the legislature will shrug their shoulders when there's no money leftover from continued tax breaks to give experienced teachers a raise, but we'll see lots of talk and hand-wringing.

Throughout it all, actual education researchers will continue to publish research showing that VAM and testing are bunk.

Anonymous said...

Congress only works 123 days out of the year and the average salary is $178,000.

Can we get a pay for performance there?

Burger King pays better than CMeS teacher of the year. Go have it YOUR WAY !

Anonymous said...


Is there any data about how many of the 25 "per centers" accepted the raise and how many rejected it?

Larry said...

The majority of Teachers have voted for Democrats, over and over, for years, and supplied them money like you would not believe.

And now we have teachers very upset with a Republican Majority the people voted in to cut costs and wild, wasteful spending, for years by those same democrats.

Has anyone of those teachers looked at this from the standpoint of just who put us in this situation?

Anonymous said...

Larry, if he democrats have supplied our teachers with unbelievable amounts of money, they would not be ranked near the bottom in pay in the country. and not everyone is blaming Republicans for the low pay, but I do blame them for killing the moral due to their attitude towards teachers. It's a shame how this state treats teachers.

Anonymous said...

Larry, exactly how is teacher salary increases (or lack of them!) "wild, wasteful spending?"

When we stop funding things like teapot museums, rebuilding the governor's daddy's pier, fabulous eight-lane roads in the tobacco fields of eastern NC, over-inflated salaries for just-out-of- college assistants to the governor (who mess up and abruptly depart for DC), and other unnecessary items, THEN we will have money for teacher raises and other things that are really needed.

Jeff Wise said...

Larry please, most teachers that I know - which granted is a small percentage in the overall - just want a fair shake from their employers, which includes the state.

Teachers see twentysomething campaign workers for the governor rewarded with salaries twice what they make after 15 years on the job.

Teachers see the governor dole out big raises to staffers with the reasoning that it's necessary to keep those very important key people from leaving public service, yet teachers continue to receive no raises - but the governor does hand out cookies to teachers.

Teachers see department leaders in the state hand out 6-figure contracts to consultants for maybe a few hundred hours of work. Those teachers do the math and realize it'll take them decades to make the same amount as that contractor.

For you to imply that teachers brought this upon themselves for voting D instead of R is naively simplistic.

The funds and ability to pay teachers fairly has and will continue to exist, the current party in charge simply doesn't want to do it, they are quite happy to play politics (and both parties have and will continue to do) with education.

Anonymous said...

Ann, you haven't covered how the 25 percent rule is backfiring at cms. Presumably the law was meant to force districts to reward the best teachers with more money. At cms, the effort backfired. The county just created more credential-based criteria for who might get extra pay. Performance and ability continue to be ignored in the cms pay scheme.

Did you not notice how ironic it is that the 25 percent law is being used to perpetuate credential-based pay that ignores performance?

Larry said...

So teacher pay by the democrats have not been all that great all these years, how about ten years:

It shows that while teachers got a two or three percent every year, state folks got up to five percent every year.

Now if you check most folks, this was during the times when things were the worst and most folks did not get any raises, nor have they had one for the last few years.

And if someone felt I said wild wasteful spending on teachers, then you must need to go back to a charter school for your education.

Democrats spent money on silly things and got your education lottery in, only to have a new trough to eat tax money swill.

And I am sure folks did not notice the twenty somethings in the govs state and all over Raleigh making twice what teachers made when the money was flowing.

And yes Teachers voting for Democrats and supporting them with billions, is simplistic. Like 2 plus 2 equals four. It takes two teachers voting in two democrats to get four bucks from tax payers of which the teachers will get a quarter from the democrats, and love it, as we have seen from the link above.

Only when the Republicans come in and do what the tax payers want do we hear from the teachers, who march in Raliegh, just like in Wisconsin. And folks be sure to look at how well things are going in Wisconsin. Teachers are now getting pay for performance.

Are we getting any performance for the pay Teachers are getting?

Anonymous said...

sometimes I wonder if teachers wouldn't be better off working for larger education management companies such as Charter Schools USA. Perhaps all those involved might be better served if the government was no longer in the education business and were to remove the mandate to educate every child, in other words, don't force people to send their children to school if they don't care to.

the reality is, for various reasons, we are not very good at educating stupid people, so why bother anymore.

Anonymous said...

Your wrong, turn off fox news and watch your local news. We do not live up north.

Anonymous said...

The first thing you do when you take over a country is kill all the teachers. Mcory and Tillis are working on it.

Anonymous said...

Larry makes conservatives look bad. Please do not put us all in his boat.

Anonymous said...

I would love to make what an average teacher in Wisconsin makes. Larry, this is North Carolina honey. Teachers aren't in big unions asking to be millionaires. Most teachers I know, including myself are independent's. I know some media outlets back us altogether, like some scary communist monster. We are not, but bless your heart anyway.