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CMS teacher: Taking away yearly raises in NC will drive educators out of classrooms

The proposal would change the way public school teachers get licensed and earn salary increases.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — North Carolina teachers are given pay raises based on their years of experience and degree, but a statewide proposal is looking to change that.

The Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission (PEPSC), which is an advising body to the State Board of Education, is creating a plan to award teacher pay raises based on performance measures like student test scores and peer reviews instead. 

The proposal could overhaul how North Carolina teachers get licensed and paid. Currently, teachers see yearly salary increases as they add on more experience for their first 16 years. They also must renew their license every five years. 

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However, a new plan drafted by the commission could allow teachers to level up to different types of licenses that come with higher pay if they meet certain criteria. According to the proposal, the first few levels are three-year terms, and the higher levels of licenses would need to be renewed every five years.

"There’s been tremendous pushback from teachers on it,” CMS teacher Justin Parmenter said.

Parmenter is also on the board of directors for the North Carolina Association of Educators. He worries the proposal's plan to measure teacher performance isn't fair.

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"Student standardized test results, principal evaluation, student surveys – all of those are useful information and can help teachers grow in their practice," Parmenter said. "But they’re also subjective or have other external factors that are beyond the teacher’s control.” 

The commission is working to finalize the plan, then the State Board of Education will consider it this fall.  

Spokesperson Blair Rhoades told WCNC Charlotte that the plan offers educators better compensation and opportunities for career advancement. 

“The goal with reforming licensure is important and simple: It’s to increase access to effective educators for all North Carolina students,” Rhoades said.  

However, Parmenter thinks taking away yearly raises will drive even more educators out of the profession. 

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“There are no states in the country that are doing something like this, and I think that’s an important thing to think about,” Parmenter added. 

If the State Board of Education approves the plan to change teacher licenses and raises, it will go to state lawmakers for the final decision.

The commission that’s drafting the proposal meets on the second Thursday of each month and streams its meetings online through the State Board of Education’s website.  

Contact Julia Kauffman at jkauffman@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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