TeachNC.org – $750,000 for Educational Propaganda

When a state superintendent has to print up a lot of glossy fliers for students to “invite” them to become teachers in North Carolina, then our state obviously is having a hard time recruiting teachers.

There are many reasons why we are losing teachers. Johnson himself should know as he is part of that problem and is propped up by those who created that problem.

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The half-truths on this flier and the refusal to show the realities of being a teacher within the proper context is what makes this nothing more than political propaganda. And this type of information is being perpetuated with the new TeachNC.org website and dashboard.

The price tag for it? $750K. For what? To show “appreciation” for the teaching profession and present it as a viable option for a career in North Carolina.

Mark Johnson has an initiative that takes money from the Gates Foundation, Belk Foundation, and Coastal Credit Union and pays BEST NC and Teach.org to develop a website for what Kelly Hinchcliffe on WRAL.com described as a:

 “public-private teacher appreciation campaign to better align the image of the teaching profession with the fruitful, fulfilling career it is and develop a statewide teacher-recruitment system to attract the next generation of North Carolina teachers.”

And just one look at the website shows that it is spreading the very same half-true, out-of-context information about being a teacher in NC as that glossy flier above Johnson has his personal website advertised on.

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Just peruse the “Get Paid to Make a Difference” page for example.

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If BEST NC can argue that the current salary schedule that a new teacher will enter with could sustain that average listed above that includes the very veteran teachers this state legislature seems to abhor, then I am all ears. But they can’t. And every person who is thinking about being a teacher in North Carolina should look very closely at the current salary schedule and see how it works and does not work for him/her.

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And getting National Boards is a great thing. The problem is that the state used to pay for teachers to get it. Now, teachers have to front their own money to work on them.

Plus the Public School Forum of North Carolina just issued a report that literally showed over 80% of districts in the state do not even make that “average” salary.

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Vacation time? That’s a little misleading. If people do not like that fact that teachers must abide by a 10-month contract and not a 12-month one, then they can do one thing that really is quite complicated and goes against the very fiber of the current NCGA and many in our communities: get the state legislature to send students to school for eight more weeks. Get the legislature to dismiss the tourist industry lobbyists and ask the state and local school systems to help finance the needs to allow for more school days – monies for physical facilities, supplies, resources, etc.

And benefits? Maybe BEST NC should have read State Treasurer Dale Falwell’s last missive to teachers.

Oh, and BEST NC can explain to the new hires that they will not have health benefits when they retire. Those were taken away a few years ago.

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Well, if a teacher wanted to be a principal, then that teacher will have to decide whether the principal pay plan that BEST NC rammed through the legislature in a surreptitious manner is a good thing.

And what is a “Policy Staff” of “Fellow” that is being labeled here?

AND MASTER”S DEGREE PAY IS NO LONGER!

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Interestingly, the state no longer funds professional development in its budget.

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Teachers have student debt? But they make so much money!

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See above.

How about re-institute graduate degree pay, longevity pay, and salary step increases for every year; give back due-process rights and career status; stop the cycle of never ending testing and evaluations; stop measuring schools with a bad performance grading system; actually listen to teachers in making policy decisions; stop giving money to non-transparent voucher systems and unregulated charter schools;  fund state mandates; treat veteran teachers better; and bring back the Teaching Fellows Program to its original state (among other things), then…

This propaganda would never be needed.

And new teachers could know the truth about teaching in this state.

 

 

It’s Here! TeachNC.org – And NC Doesn’t Need It

This past March Mark Johnson released his budget recommendations for the next two-year cycle for the North Carolina General Assembly to use in their shaky investment in NC’s public schools.

He published those recommendations on his website. Here is part of that list.

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There was a $750K request for TeachNC  described by Kelly Hinchcliffe on WRAL.com as:

His second initiative is a collaboration among the Department of Public Instruction, BEST NC and Teach.org, with support from the Belk Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Coastal Credit Union. “Teach NC,” launching this spring, is a “public-private teacher appreciation campaign to better align the image of the teaching profession with the fruitful, fulfilling career it is and develop a statewide teacher-recruitment system to attract the next generation of North Carolina teachers.”

And today many people received this email.

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It leads one to a beta-version of the site that will serve as a dashboard for potential openings and  public relations front using the glossy exterior of Mark Johnson’s rhetoric.

It is rather interesting that with all of the glorious reforms that Phil Berger and his cronies have put in place in North Carolina to “help” public education, NC needs to “attract” people to the profession with this site.

Truth be known, if NC re-instituted graduate degree pay, longevity pay, and salary step increases for every year; gave back due-process rights and career status; stopped the cycle of never ending testing and evaluations; stopped measuring schools with a bad performance grading system; actually listened to teachers in making policy decisions; stopped giving money to non-transparent voucher systems and unregulated charter schools;  funded state mandates; treated veteran teachers better; and brought back the Teaching Fellows Program to its original state (among other things), then…

TeachNC would never be needed.

#NC2019.

Not #NC2030.

Keeping The School Performance Grade Formula At 80/20 Is The NCGA’s Way of Fueling “School Choice”

Budget fact

From the recent Public School Forum of North Carolina’s report on top ten issues in NC education:

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From Lindsay Mahaffey, Wake County Board of Education – District 8:

16 states

If NC is the only state that puts more emphasis on proficiency than growth and counts proficiency for 80% for a school performance grade, then NC weighs proficiency at least 30% more than the next ranking state.

If one thing is for certain, North Carolina’s school performance grades are a confirmation that student poverty levels have so much to do with how schools perform.

The people who made the decision to institute and maintain the school performance grading system formula and still expand vouchers and rapid charter school growth ABSOLUTELY UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PROFICIENCY AND GROWTH. IT HELPS TO VALIDATE THEIR WANT OF MORE “REFORMS.”

Interestingly enough, in the school year 2019-2020, the school performance grade scale will shift from a fifteen-point scale to a ten-point scale. Do you know what that means?

IT WILL BE HARDER FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS TO QUALIFY AS PASSING. IN FACT, SCHOOLS COULD HAVE A HIGHER PERCENTAGE OF STUDENT GROWTH AND STILL GET A LOWER SCHOOL PERFORMANCE GRADE!

There will be more failing schools. This comes from a legislative body that endorsed the state board a couple of school years ago to institute a ten-point scale for all high school grading systems to help ensure higher graduation rates, but now shrinks scales for those schools’ performance grades.

The only way that this grading scale would stay at 15 points is if a bill is passed that would keep the scale from converting to a 10-point scale. There is one bill that aks for this: House Bill 145.  The problem is that it isn’t moving.

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There was also a bill to change the School Performance Grade ratio form an 80/20 to a 50/50 so that growth and achievement would have equal effect on the score. Two bills were introduced in late February that were then combined into one action bill: HB 249.

Ironically, that bill is stuck as well.

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With policies that still hurt the working poor and those in poverty (which in NC affects over 20% of public school students) and the refusal to expand Medicaid and the other policies that hurt poorer regions, it is almost certain that poverty will have as much if not a bigger role in school performance grades in the near future.

Guess what else is happening in 2019-2010? Voucher expansion!

SECTION 6.6.(b) G.S. 115C-562.8(b) reads as rewritten: “(b) The General Assembly finds that, due to the critical need in this State to provide opportunity for school choice for North Carolina students, it is imperative that the State provide an increase of funds of at least ten million dollars ($10,000,000) each fiscal year for 10 years to the Opportunity Scholarship Grant Fund Reserve. Therefore, there is appropriated from the General Fund to the Reserve the following amounts for each fiscal year to be used for the purposes set forth in this section:
Fiscal Year Appropriation

2017-2018: $44,840,000
2018-2019: $54,840,000
2019-2020: $64,840,000
2020-2021: $74,840,000
2021-2022: $84,840,000
2022-2023: $94,840,000
2023-2024: $104,840,000
2024-2025: $114,840,000
2025-2026: $124,840,000
2026-2027: $134,840,000

For the 2027-2028 fiscal year and each fiscal year thereafter, there is appropriated from the General Fund to the Reserve the sum of one hundred forty-four million eight hundred forty Page 14 Senate Bill 257-Ratified thousand dollars ($144,840,000) to be used for the purposes set forth in this section. When developing the base budget, as defined by G.S. 143C-1-1, for each fiscal year specified in this subsection, the Director of the Budget shall include the appropriated amount specified in this subsection for that fiscal year.”

Read that first line again: “due to the critical need in this State to provide opportunity for school choice for North Carolina students.”

That “critical need” has been created in part by making sure that many schools look bad – i.e., school performance grades. With a shrinking scale, more schools will “fail” and most of those schools will have higher levels of poverty in their student populations.

Those are exactly the students who will be targeted for expanding vouchers, because the Opportunity Grants are supposed to help “low-income” students and newer charter schools are being create simply to provide “choice.”

They know damn well the difference between proficiency and growth – the less proficient public schools look in the eyes of the public through a lens that the NC General Assembly prescribes, the more growth for “reforms.”

Within the NC Senate Budget The Following Are Mentioned…

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The NC Senate released its proposed budget this week. In its pages the following search terms were used to find the frequency at which they were used.

  • “school” – 953 times
  • “teachers” – 127
  • “EVAAS” – 25
  • “achievement” – 14
  • “teacher salary” – 12
  • “teacher assistant” – 1
  • “graduate degree” – 0
  • “hurricane” – 13
  • “Teaching Fellows” – 2
  • “minimum wage” – 1
  • “Medicaid Expansion” – 0
  • “tax” – 452
  • “bonus” – 80
  • “test” – 76
  • “advanced teaching roles” – 22
  • “public school” – 128
  • “curriculum” – 14
  • “poverty” – 13
  • “Virtual e-wallet” – 1
  • “vendor” – 11
  • “charter school”  – 26
  • “low-income” – 10
  • “food” – 4
  • “subcommittee” – 24
  • “Department of Public Instruction” – 55
  • “bus driver” – 0
  • “gun” – 1
  • “firearm” – 0
  • “school safety” – 18
  • “Superintendent of Public Instruction” – 21
  • “tuition” – 66
  • “raise” – 15
  • “lunch” – 7
  • “calendar flexibility” – 0
  • “pilot” – 70

 

 

Call It For What It Is: Phil Berger Does Not Support Public Schools

No Senate budget in the state of North Carolina gets released without Phil Berger’s approval.

And the one yesterday did nothing to help relieve what has been ailing public education in NC.

If the NC Senate’s budget has its way:

  • Schools will still be judged by the 80/20 formula where the %80 is achievement. NC is the only state where achievement is over half of the formula.
  • No graduate pay restoration.
  • No longevity pay restoration.
  • No Medicaid expansion.
  • No minimum wage for school employees.
  • More money for vouchers.

If you do not think then prove it otherwise. Just look at the voting records of people in his party and you will see that he controls the rank and file. And if you want to make the argument that a post like this is targeting a certain political party, then it sure is. But this is not the party that my grandparents knew. This is the party that has drifted from its roots of supporting strong public schools in this state and done what Phil Berger dictates.

Under the leadership of Sen. Phil Berger, the NCGA has done this to public schools in North Carolina:

  1. Teacher Pay – Manipulated raises to make it appear that the “average” teacher salary raise is higher than “actual” raises.
  2. Removal of due-process rights – Teachers who are not protected by due-process will not be as willing to speak out because of fear.
  3. Graduate Degree Pay Bumps Removed.
  4. Push for Merit Pay and Bonus Pay – The bottom line is that merit pay destroys collaboration and promotes competition.
  5. Health Insurance and Benefits – Simply put, health benefits are requiring more out-of-pocket expenditures, higher deductibles, and fewer benefits. Legislation has also taken away retirement health benefits for those who enter the profession now.
  6. Attacks on Teacher Advocacy Groups (NCAE) – Seen as a union and therefore must be destroyed, the North Carolina Association of Educators has been incredibly instrumental in bringing unconstitutional legislation to light and carrying out legal battles to help public schools.
  7. Revolving Door of Standardized Tests – Like other states, we have too many. Such a revolving door makes the ability to measure data historically absolutely ridiculous.
  8. Reorganization and a Weakening of the Department of Public Instruction – It all started with HB17 that was “passed” in a special session of the North Carolina General Assembly after the 2016 elections and before the new terms began.
  9. Less Money Spent per Pupil – When adjusted for inflation.
  10. Remove Caps on Class Sizes – The math is simple: more students per teacher.
  11. Jeb Bush School Grading System – This letter grading system used by the state literally shows how poverty in our state affects student achievement.
  12. Cutting Teacher Assistants –  NC has lost nearly 7500 teacher assistant jobs in the last ten years.
  13. Opportunity Grants – Opportunity Grant legislation is like the trophy in the case for the GOP establishment in Raleigh. It is a symbol of “their” commitment to school choice for low-income families. But it is the least transparent system in the nation.
  14. Charter Schools – Many charters abuse the lack of oversight and financial cloudiness and simply do not benefit students. Especially in rural areas, uncontrolled charter school growth has been detrimental to local public schools.
  15. Virtual Charter Schools – There are two virtual charter academies in NC. Both are run by for-profit entities based out of state. Both also have rated poorly every year of their existence.
  16. Innovative School District – Only one school is part of this ISD which has its own superintendent and was really was never wanted in the first place.
  17. Reduction of Teacher Candidates in Colleges – At last report, teaching candidate percentages in undergraduate programs in the UNC system has fallen by over 30% in the last five years.
  18. Elimination of Teaching Fellows Program – Once regarded as a model to recruit the best and brightest to become teachers and stay in North Carolina was abolished because of “cost”. Yes, it was reintistited, but as a shadow of its former self.
  19. Class Size Chaos – It was never funded by the NCGA.
  20. Municipal Charter School Bill – Passed as a local bill, it now has gone statewide to literally allow for segregated schools.
  21. A Puppet of a State Superintendent – If someone wants to make an argument for how great a job Mark Johnson has done, then I am ears.

There is more.

Too many kids are hungry and poor in this state. ALEC style reforms have not worked. Veteran teachers are being ignored.

The graphics below chart actual data during the time that Phil Berger has been leader of the NC Senate.

 

graphFrom the recent Public School Forum of North Carolina’s report on top ten issues in NC education.

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View image on Twitter

Source: Kris Nordstrom

295 to teach3

Image result for nc virtual charter school performance grades

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Another “Berger Bonus” Is Not What We Need – Reward Versus Respect

On Tuesday afternoon, Sen. Phil Berger and other GOP leaders from the NC Senate will present their budget proposal for the next two years. Below is a snippet of the tweet sent out by his office offering some highlights.

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And there are some inviting numbers there.

But remember that the House budget proposal that was issued last month right before the May 1st march and rally had some inviting numbers on it as well.

Money for construction and maintenance. Money for some more school psychologists. More “average” raises. And it will be interesting to hear about what that extra funds for public education will be.

Then there is that word – “Bonus.”

Phil Berger loves a bonus because it is an attempt to quell the argument for restoring longevity pay and graduate degree pay.

It’s sadistically funny that Berger wants to give veteran teachers a bonus for long term service as a teacher in NC. Wasn’t that what longevity pay was? But longevity pay was something that was given every year and still is to almost all other state employees.

Berger seems to mistake a “reward” with “respect.”

The use of a bonus instead of going ahead and restoring longevity pay for teachers is a matter of trying to equate a “reward” with actual “respect.” It brought to mind that there are many stark differences between rewards and respect.

  • A reward sounds like something that can be used as a political ploy. Respect needs no political prompt. Berger loves political ploys.
  • A reward could be a one-time gift. Respect is continuous and grows.
  • A reward is a reaction to something. Respect guides your actions.
  • A reward is giving teachers a bonus that gets taxed by the state. Respect would be to bring back longevity pay.

And a reward is promising to be more transparent in how issues are communicated between governing entities. Remember that last year Berger and his cronies passed the budget through a nuclear option.

Ultimately, respect is never having to have this be an issue in the first place.

And Sen. Phil Berger  does not respect public school teachers.

Remember Longevity Pay? There WAS A Bill To Restore It.

In the long session of 2014, the NC General Assembly raised salaries for teachers in certain experience brackets that allowed them to say that an “average” salary for teachers was increased by over 7%. They called it a “historic raise.”

However, if you divided the amount of money used in these “historic” raises by the number of teachers who “received” them, it would probably amount to about $270 per teacher.

That historic raise was funded in part by eliminating teachers’ longevity pay.

Similar to an annual bonus, this is something that all state employees in North Carolina — except, now, for teachers — gain as a reward for continued service. The budget rolled that money into teachers’ salaries and labeled it as a raise.

longevity

That’s like me stealing money out of your wallet and then presenting it to you as a gift. And remember that teachers are the only state employees who do not receive longevity pay.

Just teachers.

It’s almost like the North Carolina General Assembly doesn’t even want to have teachers be considered employees of the state.

This school year will be the fifth year that veteran teachers will not receive longevity pay. For the many veteran  teachers who never saw a raise within the past 6-7 years in actual dollars, the loss of longevity pay actually created a loss of net income for some years.

Consider the following table compiled by John deVille, NC public school activist and veteran teacher who has chronicled the various changes in educational policy for years. He tracked the recent teacher pay “increase” and used DATA-DRIVEN logic to show something rather interesting.

teacherpay2019

What deVille did was to compare salaries as proposed from the recent budget to the 2008-2009 budget that was in place right before the Great Recession hit, the same financial catastrophe that most every GOP stalwart seems to forget happened ten years ago. Adjusting the 2008-2009 salary schedule with an inflation index from the Bureau of Labor, the third column shows what those 2008-2009 salaries would be like now. Most steps see a shortfall. Add to that the loss of longevity pay that was used to help finance these “historic raises” and the amount of money lost by teachers over these past ten years becomes rather eye-opening.

Longevity pay does mean that much to veteran teachers. It also means a lot to the NCGA because they used its elimination to help wage a systematic war against veteran teachers.

In the last five years, new teachers entering the profession in North Carolina have seen the removal of graduate degree pay bumps and due-process rights. While the “average” salary increases have been most friendly to newer teachers (financed in part by removal of longevity), those pay “increases” do plateau at about Year 15 in a teacher’s career. Afterwards, nothing really happens. Teachers in that position may have to make career-ending decisions.

The removal of longevity might make those decisions easier to make on a personal level, but more difficult for the state to recover from.

But there was a bill in the NCGA to restore longevity pay. From a February, 2019  report in The Robesonian:

LUMBERTON — A Robeson County lawmaker plans to introduce a bill in the General Assembly to restore longevity pay for teachers.

Under the legislation, teachers with a minimum of 10 years in the classroom would have a percentage of their annual salary added to their paycheck.

“Longevity pay is a great incentive to recruit and maintain the best teachers for our children,” said Rep. Charles Graham, a Democrat from Lumberton whose District 47 includes much of Robeson County.

He plans to introduce the bill this week, Graham said Tuesday.

The bonus pay was eliminated during the General Assembly’s 2013-14 session in order to fund an average 7 percent increase in teacher salaries. Teachers are the only state employees who do not currently receive longevity pay.

“The longevity pay, when it was taken away, the teachers were highly upset about that,” said Graham, a former educator.

The proposal, which would include support personnel, calls for payments, based on a teacher’s length of service, to be made annually and would reward veteran teachers for staying in the classroom longer, Graham said.

That bill was House Bill 248.

House Bill 248

It was introduced on February 28th.

Look where it is right now.

House Bill 248 2

Nothing has happened since March 4th.

The House released their version of the budget proposal on April 29th.

Today is May 26th.

 

You Know You Are a Middle-Aged Public School Teacher When…

You Know You Are a Middle-Aged Public School Teacher When…

  1. You pull a hamstring going up the stairs right after a fire drill.
  2. You make a reference to a movie that a student claims that his parent may have seen.
  3. You fondly look back at the time when there were no cellphones in the classroom.
  4. You realize that you are three times older than some of the students in your room.
  5. You realize that you are older than some of your students’ parents.
  6. You see a school picture of yourself from early in your career and you do not recognize it.
  7. You see that a fashion style from when you were in high school has come back in vogue.
  8. You have your own child attend the high school where you work.
  9. You are asked by a student what you looked like when you had a full head of hair.
  10. You tell students that the shorts you wore when you played basketball in high school were really shorts.
  11. You have school bells go off in your head on the weekends.
  12. You still have VHS tapes of the movies you show with novels.
  13. You have neighbors who come to you to ask what certain sayings they hear teenagers say just might mean.
  14. You receive AARP invitations in the mail.
  15. You laugh at jokes that no one else in class has a reference point for.
  16. Your hair has been naturally more than one color in your career.
  17. You are the slowest texter in the room.
  18. Every student hears your knees pop when you get out of a chair.
  19. You have seen a student pass out, go into labor, barf, scream, and cry in the same week.
  20. You remember as a student that the person who made copies had purple ink on his hands.
  21. You need new letters in the English language to create all of the acronyms that you have come across in education.
  22. You can eat your lunch in ten minutes while grading papers and think nothing of it.
  23. You have received 30 coffee cups as present from students and used every one of them.
  24. You love the laminating machine.
  25. You understand what herding cats is like.
  26. You understand that the series “Breaking Bad” really is about the need to pay teachers more.
  27. You wish that schools brought back recess time for all students.
  28. You can make Princess Bride allusions and students know what you are talking about.
  29. You have enough holiday ties for the entire month of December.
  30. Your students poke fun at you for having an old iPod Shuffle.
  31. You remember there were not standardized tests every quarter.

How Chemical Is NC’s Romance With The “Privatisation” of Public Educational Data?

Last month a publication concerning the influence of Pearson Education was released entitled “Pearson 2025: Transforming teaching and privatising educational data.”

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It’s startling to read and yet it’s not so hard to conceive of the conclusions that both researchers come to. And yes, “privatising” is correctly spelled as Pearson is based in London and their reach is incredibly far reaching across the globe.

For many people that reach is too far. And the hold is too tight.

Pearson’s hold on educational data seems to be evolving more and more. And in the world of standardized testing, concepts like “data-driven” and “personalized learning” mixed in with virtual classrooms and technology create the best conditions for a company like Pearson to have a stronger hold here in North Carolina.

Consider the following quotes from our state superintendent:

“We will continue to use data-driven analyses, including feedback from classroom teachers, to drive changes ….” – Mark Johnson in October of 2018 concerning the report on the ineffectiveness of Read to Achieve.

“At DPI, we want to transform our education system to one that uses 21st century best practices so students and educators have access to unique learning experiences personalized for their individual needs and aspirations.” – Mark Johnson from “North Carolina Public Schools Accelerating into 2018” in December of 2017 on EdNC.org.

New, personalized learning technology allows teachers to get the information they need about students’ progress without high-stakes testing. Especially in the early grades, progress checks can feel like a normal, engaging lesson instead of an examination. In many cases, students won’t even know we are checking in on their progress.” – Mark Johnson from “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not gonna test it anymore!” in January of 2019 on EdNC.org.

Then consider DPI’s relationship with SAS, a private company that generates the School Report Cards, EVAAS Data, and the NC School Finances website.

And do not think that SAS and Pearson do not know each other.

SASPearson

There’s lots of money to be made in the private handling of public school student data.

Sen. Deanna Ballard’s “Credibility Crisis” – Concerning Her Press Release on Teacher Salaries

Yesterday in response to the Public School Forum of North Carolina’s report on “average” teacher salaries, Sen. Deanna Ballard issues a press release in an attempt to debunk the PSFNC’s findings.

In short, it was a failure of an argument.

ballard1ballard2ballard3

Here is the text:

Credibility Crisis: Average Teacher Pay Suddenly Doesn’t Matter to Liberal Activists
 
After complaining for years about average teacher pay when attacking Republicans, they now say average teacher pay is a bad metric
 
Why? Because Republicans have increased average teacher pay from 47th to 29th in the nation
 
Phony “non-partisan” orgs don’t care about teachers or pay – they care only about attacking Republicans.
Raleigh, N.C. – For years, far-left activist groups like the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) and the Public School Forum have used North Carolina’s average teacher salary ranking to attack Republicans. But now that Republican have increased average teacher pay, the phony organizations are saying the metric is no longer valid.
For example, back in 2016, Keith Poston, president and executive director of the “nonpartisan” Public School Forum, used average teacher pay to attack Republicans:“Average teacher salary still ranks 42nd nationally. In 2001 we ranked 21st. North Carolina ranks dead last in teacher salary growth over the past decade. Today, all states bordering North Carolina have higher average teacher salaries.”
Poston also attacked Republicans for failing to increase average teacher pay enough in 2015, and cited low average teacher salary rankings as a main reason for his call to “direct adequate resources to public schools, teachers, and leaders.” 
But in a flagrant example of the left’s credibility crisis, that very same person argued today in a WRAL editorial titled “Debunking the Average Teacher Pay Myth” that using average teacher pay as a metric has “bothered me for some time.” 
This sudden and bizarre change of heart makes it clear that liberal activists like Poston and the far-left NCAE will ignore their own words and previous reasons to attack Republicans as soon as the facts no longer fit their deceptive narrative.
They had no problem using average teacher salary when it backed up their argument that Republicans are “bad” for public education, but now that it no longer does, they conveniently say it is not an accurate metric. 
Everyone, including the national teacher’s union, uses average teacher salary as the primary metric when gauging teacher pay. The teacher’s union even publishes a report on average teacher salaries every year, and in this year’s report, North Carolina was ranked 29th, up from a low of 47th.
The fact is, legislative Republicans in North Carolina have shown an unparalleled commitment to raising teacher salaries and have also invested record sums in public education. But rather than applauding these advancements, liberal activists choose to move the goalposts to continue their anti-Republican attacks, making their lack of credibility on this issue abundantly clear.  

It’s rather ironic that for years the very NCGA that has touted their “historic raises” has used the very report on average teacher salaries for their own arguments that Ballard claims as the metric for “liberal” bias. If the NCGA wants to come up with its own metric, then they are free to do so and allow that to be presented for scrutiny.

And it’s rather ironic that Sen. Ballard attack a report that specifically shows the differences between “average” and “actual” in such a way that further exposes the hypocrisy of the NCGA’s actions of the last eight years.

Why? Because lawmakers like Ballard who want to make the argument about what is seen on the surface of the matter intentionally neglect what is the root of the problem. In this case, that means how that “average” has been manufactured.

For Ballard to make a real argument in this case, she would need to not only explain the differences between “average” and “actual,” but she will need to admit how that “average” came about in the first place. And she won’t do that. Why? It would destroy her narrative and create a “credibility crisis.”

“Average” does not mean “actual”. But it sounds great to Ballard who doesn’t want people to understand the math.

The last eight years have seen tremendous changes to teacher pay. For new teachers entering in the profession here in NC there is no longer any graduate degree pay bump, no more longevity pay (for anyone), and a changed salary schedule that only makes it possible for a teacher to top out on the salary schedule with at 52K per year.

salary

So how can that be the average pay in NC be over 53K when no one can really make much over 52K as a new teacher in his/her entire career unless they all become nationally certified (which takes a monetary investment by the teacher to start)?

Easy. North Carolina is counting all of the veteran teachers’ current salaries in that figure. The very people whose salaries simply disgusted the former governor and the General Assembly to the point that they had to take measures to “lower” them are actually being used to tout this new wonderful “average.”

Furthermore, this average is counting on local supplements. This comes in the face of budgets that are allocating less money to each central office of each school system for administrative costs. Now each county has to raise more money to actually offset those costs and also allow for local supplements. And not all localities provide the same supplements.

Just ask the counties that Ballard represents. Here are the average salaries of teachers within each of the counties in the Public School Forum of NC’s report including the local supplement provided by each system in parentheses.

Alleghany – $51,173 ($500)
Ashe – $51,777 ($600)
Surry – $51,644 ($1,388)
Wautaga – $55,357 ($2,355)
Wilkes – $50,694 ($2,261)

All of the average salaries in those counties except Wautaga are below the state average. All of the counties have lower than average local supplements.

Now if Ballard can explain how those averages can be sustained with the “unparalleled commitment” to teachers she claims to have, then she can issue another press release, but what she is really doing is further proving the Forum’s findings: that the “average” pay in NC is skewed and that “actual” pay should be addressed so that the “average” pay is not so intentionally skewed. And that will be a major issue for Ballard because when local supplements come into play, smaller more rural counties will have a harder time recruiting teachers.

But it is worth addressing Ballard’s “unparalleled commitment” to public school teachers when she is a primary sponsor of a bill that would expand the eligibility of those who could take public money away from the public schools and fund vouchers for private schools.

From a May 13th post on the Reflector.com:

Sen. Deanna Ballard, R-Watauga, one of the bill’s sponsors, pointed to an N.C. State report that shows the annual median income of households applying for the Opportunity Scholarship program was just more than $16,000.

“We are just trying to allow more of those working families who live on that uncomfortable income level the opportunity to assess and determine the best school options for their students needs,” Ballard said. “I’m not in a position to assume what that best need is, and I think as politicians we should leave that decision to the parents.”

Ballard said the bill addresses concerns from parents over accessibility by expanding eligibility and by lifting the cap on students entering kindergarten and first grade.

The odd thing here is that her math on median income for recipients was not correct because of that “actual” versus “median” issue.

ballard4

NC State had to correct their report.

And the idea of Ballard claiming that the argument over “average” teacher pay is a strictly partisan attack on republicans in the NCGA? Well, she can say what she wants, but when it comes to partisan politics, Ballard probably should look in the mirror.

From May 23rd’s Winston-Salem Journal:

A bill headed to the floor of the N.C. Senate would make the three Surry County boards of education partisan, despite opposition from those boards.

Senate Bill 674 was introduced as a local bill Tuesday by Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, and Sen. Deanna Ballard, R-Wilkes, who represents Surry among five Northwest N.C. counties. A local bill cannot be vetoed by the governor.

It was recommended by the Senate Redistricting and Elections committee a day later and by the Rules and Operations committee on Thursday. It could be heard on the Senate floor as early as Tuesday.

That sounds democratic.

And about “average” for Sen. Deanna Ballard.