MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — On Thursday a North Carolina State Board subcommittee discussed more details on a controversial pilot program that will make North Carolina teachers in part subject to evaluations in order to get pay raises.
On Thursday morning, PEPSC meeting officials were careful to talk about if and how it would use student evaluations in a new pilot program.
"We've talked a lot about misinformation and concerns. I think to be here, it's probably a major point that we want to be very careful and very thoughtful on how this is developed," Aaron Fleming, The Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission Vice Chairman said. "So that in fact, it's not all you know, it's not all based again, on assessments."
North Carolina would join only two other states which use a similar licensing system. Nonetheless, the proposed draft plans, as presented at past meetings, would make the state unique in its approach.
The proposal to overhaul how North Carolina teachers are licensed has many details, but a major component is at the center of the controversy.
It involves linking a teacher’s pay in part to the license they hold.
"I don't think any teacher would turn down a massive raise," Justin Parmenter, a North Carolina teacher said. "So the opposition to this plan has nothing to do with 'no, we don't want to be paid more,' of course, we want to be paid more, we have teachers that are working two and three jobs just to be able to put food on the table and pay their bills."
Parmenter is a Charlotte teacher and leader in the North Carolina Association of Educators. He said in part he opposes the idea of tying student outcomes to teacher pay though.
“When we base high stakes decisions on a standardized test score, we're saying that this one score is accurately representing an entire year's worth of learning and growth," Parmenter said.
The new licensure program would raise teacher pay as it stands now.
It would do this by putting teachers into tiered license categories, with only some tiers eligible for raises.
At least a hundred letters about the proposal have come from around the state.
One teacher told the state committee, “If you don't pass this, NC public education is as good as finished. Don’t listen to the voices who oppose paying teachers. Give us the raise we deserve.”
Another says, “Don't present a half-baked plan claiming that the half-baked part is implementation issues.”
Most teachers would face a performance review that is directly related to their license status.
The review for effectiveness could be based on student test scores, student growth, or an entirely new evaluation system. The selling point for the state is its option to help teachers deemed ineffective opportunities to change this.
The evaluations would be weighed over five-year periods.
Under the system proposed, teachers don’t have to meet expectations every year -- just three out of every five years. It would also provide additional teaching staff to serve as leaders and mentors for other teachers.
"The goal here is not to move these leaders into central office positions, the goal is to keep them in the classroom," Catherin Truitt, North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction said. "And that may mean as in the case of the way advanced teaching roles is, you may be in a classroom, mentoring a teacher for two periods a day."
Teachers would be able to select which evaluation method to use.
What happens to teachers who don’t pass them is still in the air.
There are a few more roadblocks until the pilot program starts.
The subcommittee will work through December to give recommendations to the state board of education at the earliest regularly scheduled Meeting in 2023.
It set a deadline of getting the documents with plans to the board by February 17th.
Before this can be implemented, it will also need funding from the general assembly.
Editor's note: A previous version of this story stated the meeting would be held at 9 p.m. The story now reflects the correct time.