The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday December 6th

McCrory wants subject-based teacher pay

In the midst of a tense environment between teachers and politicians, Gov. Pat McCrory’s new plans for a merit-based teacher pay system has some educators skeptical.

McCrory introduced his initiative at a speech on Monday during the Holshouser Legislators Retreat in Greensboro.

“They just feel like they’re walked over,” McCrory said in the speech. “A lot of teachers feel like they’re taken for granted.”

A key part of McCrory’s plan includes paying mathematics and science teachers more to encourage college graduates to become K-12 teachers rather than take higher-paid jobs in other fields.

But Rodney Ellis, president of the N.C. Association of Educators, said singling out teachers in a specific subject area is not an effective way to promote an improved education system.

“I don’t know of any merit-based system that has proved effective,” he said.

Ellis said a teacher in any subject is a part of an interdisciplinary community of teachers that work together, and paying a teacher of one subject more than a teacher of another makes this difficult.

More details of McCrory’s plans will be released in coming weeks.

And McCrory said there are other problems confronting the K-12 system.

Disparity between teacher and administrator pay can force good teachers to pursue administrator positions, removing teachers from the classrooms where they are needed, McCrory said.

Still, Jeffrey Nash, spokesman for Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, said teachers are not pushed into administrative jobs.

Nash decided early in his teaching career in Wake County to make the switch to an administrator position.

“Teachers decide on their own if they want to do something like that,” he said. “There are some great teachers who do want to pursue administrative positions, and there are some teachers that decide they want to stay in the classroom.”

Nash and CHCCS proposed a plan for the school system that is neither merit-based, as McCrory suggested, nor seniority-based, as the system has been functioning.

The plan would have teachers rewarded for furthering their own professional development — taking summer classes, or courses at universities.

“Those who want to move up the ladder can go take additional training and classes to hopefully make themselves a better teacher,” Nash said.

McCrory’s plan also includes more career and vocational training for high schools. The plan focuses on allowing students to choose their own educational path, rather than emphasizing a four-year college track.

Ellis agreed on the importance of supporting alternative post-secondary education tracks.

“Despite the fact that we want every student to go to college, not every student has that desire,” Ellis said. “You have to allow them to pursue a goal that may be of greater interest to them.”

state@dailytarheel.com

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