The Daily Tar Heel

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Thursday January 20th

NC teachers encouraged to protest new teacher contracts

The N.C. Association of Educators urged teachers Wednesday to protest a law that will trade tenure for a pay raise.

The law requires school districts to offer the top 25 percent of teachers a contract that would exchange protection from demotion or dismissal for a $500 salary increase each year for four years. Tenure will be phased out completely by 2018.

Mark Jewell, NCAE vice president, said the law only provides funding for the first year of raises.

Brian Link, a teacher at East Chapel Hill High School, said he has joined a group of teachers in Wear Red for Ed., a campaign to display support that occurs every Wednesday . This week, that movement morphed into a protest about the law called Decline to Sign.

“One of the things we are trying to avoid is a walkout,” Link said. “We’re going to support the kids.”

Link said Decline to Sign will send a stronger message to the N.C. General Assembly, which will resume for its short session in May.

The criteria for picking the top 25 percent of teachers will be determined by each school district.

“We don’t believe it’s right to divide teachers,” Link said. “We have no idea how they are going to choose.”

Jeff Nash, a spokesman for Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, said he does not know how the district will choose its top 25 percent of teachers.

“I haven’t heard anybody who thinks this law is a good idea,” he said.

He said options include taking the best test scores or the most seniority. The district must offer the contracts to 25 percent of the district’s 1,200 teachers by the end of the school year.

Link said only 77 CHCCS teachers said in unofficial polling that they would consider the offer.

Some N.C. teachers, including Link, have joined a lawsuit opposing the end of teacher tenure. If the lawsuit is successful, Link said he does not know if teachers who accepted the contract will be given back their tenure.

Alan Duncan, school board chairman for Guilford County Schools, said the state has committed funding 10 percent of the proposed raises.

Guilford County Schools voted Sunday to ask staff not to proceed with identifying the top 25 percent of teachers in that district. Only six members of the board were present to vote, so the board will vote with all 11 members Tuesday.

Nash said he does not know if CHCCS will follow in Guilford County’s footsteps.

state@dailytarheel.com

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