Senate wants merit pay, end teacher tenure | Schools
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Republicans in the North Carolina Senate are rolling out a package of public school initiatives they say would create performance bonuses for teachers but end their employment tenure so that districts could more easily dismiss ineffective ones.
Senate leader Phil Berger unveiled his plan Monday in Raleigh. It's Senate Bill 795. The politician says it must pass.
"In order to fix our state's broken education system," Berger said. "We must stop constantly reaching for our checkbook and focus on reforming our playbook."
In addition to abolishing teacher tenure, Berger wants to abolish social promotion. The bill states if a 3rd grader cannot read on 3rd grade level, that student will not go to the fourth grade.
Berger argues nearly 97 percent of 3rd-graders are promoted to the 4th grade. But 66% of 4th graders cannot read at grade level.
The most bold move in the bill is ending teacher tenure.
"It will be a dangerous thing," Char-Meck Association of Educators President Randolph Frierson said. "For the educational system."
The new plan would put veteran teachers on annual contracts. The proposal also would direct the 115 districts to come up with their own merit pay system in time for the fall of 2013.
Frierson believes this bill will make it easier for administrators to fire teachers. Without tenure, he claims teachers are easy targets. Bill proponents argue if teachers are doing a good job, they have nothing to worry about. Frierson disagrees. He claims good teachers have been let go.
"Case after case where folks have been doing a fantastic job," Frierson said. "Wrong administrator has a gripe."
Judy Kidd, president of Classroom Teachers Association says this bill is not a done deal. She says she will participate to make sure the bill is one teachers are comfortable with.
"Look at it, Kidd said. "And evaluate it and make recommendations as we move forward."
The bill will now go to the Senate's Education committee for review. The General Assembly will start discussing this bill when the session begins in a few weeks.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.