The Hypocrisy of “Transparency” In NC Schools & Society

Remember this recent bill?

Senate Bill 700 was filed less than four weeks ago.

Here are a couple of parts to that bill:

Post everything that is used and the sourcing of all of these materials? So that people can make judgement without the context and measure those materials against their own personal bias and viewpoints?

Oh, right. For transparency’s sake.

Remember this? It’s still going on.

But we already have this on the books in NC:

Yep. Transparency.

The ACT Should Never Have This Much Power Over NC High Schools

A little over five years ago, an extended editorial appeared in newspapers across North Carolina concerning public education. I happened to read it in the Winston-Salem Journal.

It was written by Walter McDowell, a board member of BEST NC. McDowell, a former executive with Wachovia, talked of the dire need to transform education in North Carolina. And just to clarify, there are many who will always say that we “need to transform” education. You can read that op-ed here.

In short, McDowell told the state it had a huge problem and that his consortium, BEST NC, was mapping a way for our transformation. He called it “Excellence: North Carolina’s Education Vision.”

“Recently, Excellence: North Carolina’s Education Vision was launched. It was developed with input and collaboration from education, business and policy leaders from across the state. Excellence outlines a shared vision to make North Carolina’s education system the best in the nation by 2030.

Inspired by this vision and the important work of our educators, the 115 business leaders who compose BEST NC will continue to work with the education community, the governor and the General Assembly on high-yield investments and systemic strategies that will dramatically improve students’ educational experiences in our state. It is our hope that our elected leaders see from this report that elevating educators must be at the top of the list in those discussions.”

It is always nice to think that we educators are being “lifted” in the eyes of the public, but McDowell used as one of the measures to qualify our state’s dire circumstances the state’s average ACT scores.

He said,

“Then, shortly before the budget passed, North Carolina received news that we are still last in the nation in college and career readiness as measured by the ACT exam. There could be no greater urgency in North Carolina than solving this education crisis.”

I responded to McDowell’s argument with a rebuttal. It was published in the 10/17/15 edition of the Winston-Salem Journal. Specifically, I responded to the use of the ACT as the barometer of the entire health of the NC education system. I argued,

“North Carolina is one of only 13 states (in 2015 – in 2017 it was around 17) that requires all students (EC, LEP, etc.) to take that exam, which has no impact on their transcripts, provides no feedback in its scores on how to improve student achievement and is administered on a school day on which other activities and classes take place. Most states only have paying students take the ACT on a Saturday; those students have an investment in the results, hence higher scores” (http://www.journalnow.com/opinion/columnists/stuart-egan-judging-schools-by-an-unfair-standard/article_0aa55234-8b82-5713-8114-65bc43e80eb1.html).

Unfortunately, BEST NC is still active in Raleigh trying to lobby business style reforms for public education.

And there is talk in Raleigh to stop using the EOC tests in high schools and replace them with national standardized tests. Of course the ACT would be one of the tests that could be considered. It is already mandated to be taken by students. It is possible that it becomes even more of a presence in the measurement of school and student achievement.

Besides the aforementioned reasons that we as a state should not rely on the ACT so much, there is that characteristic of the ACT that is similar to our state’s school performance grades: it measures the effects of poverty on schools as well as racial/ethnic divides.

Jon Boeckenstedt, Vice Provost of Enrollment Management at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon, writes a blog that comments on admission tests for colleges and universities. One of his posts dealt with the ACT score distributions based on reported income and ethnicity.

The patterns are clear.

Here’s what it looks like based on ethnicity.

Name the only state in the country with the lowest legal minimum wage, one of the lowest corporate tax rates, no collective bargaining rights for public employees, no Medicaid expansion, loosely regulated voucher and charter school expansion, a school performance grading system that measures achievement over growth, and has had congressional district lines declared unconstitutional that were drawn on racial lines. 

North Carolina.

Would ACT scores reflect that?

Now Is The Time To Expand The North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program To Include All NC Public Colleges & Universities – Especially Our HBCU’s

These two data exhibits in the recently released Leandro Report paint a vivid picture of what many in this state have been describing for years: the weakening of the teacher pipeline in North Carolina because of policies set by the NCGA.

leandroretention2

From 2009-10 to 2016-17, the percentage of new teachers who came from the UNC system dropped nearly 30%. Couple that with the fact that teachers who come from the UNC system have higher rates of retention at both the three-year and five-year mark (see below).

leandroretention1

Then on page 218 directly following the above exhibits, the Leandro Report states,

Although there has been an increase in the number of teachers of color (now about 30% of teacher enrollments in state teacher preparation programs), some of these teachers — particularly African American and Native American recruits — are primarily entering through alternative routes, which have much higher attrition rates. One reason for this is the steep drop in teacher education enrollments in minority-serving institutions, including historically Black colleges, which decreased by more than 60% between 2011 and 2016.

Teachers of color are an important resource. Recent research — much of it conducted in North Carolina — has found that having a same-race teacher has a positive impact on the long-term education achievement and attainment of students of color, particularly African American students (e.g., Dee, 2004; Gershenson, Hart, Lindsay, & Papageorge, 2017).

This state could do one action to help both increase the number of teacher candidates trained in our UNC system and bring in more teacher candidates of color – expand the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program exponentially – the same North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program that put so many great teachers in our NC schools for years.

That is until it was abolished and then brought back as a shadow of its former self.

The latest iteration of the Teaching Fellow Program only accommodates 160 potential teachers at “only one of five public or private universities to be selected by an appointed committee ” for only select fields. This comes nowhere to replacing a program that yearly helped train 500 potential teachers at multiple campuses  in a variety of subjects who were for 25 years also walking advertisements for teaching in the state that was at one time committed to public schools.

What NC needs now is to raise that number of yearly candidates to at least 1000.

Imagine if just one-tenth of the budget surplus that Phil Berger and Tim Moore have been bragging about these last few years was reinvested into the Teaching Fellow Program and expanded it to beyond what it used to be to include all state-supported colleges and universities with emphasis on our public Historically Black Colleges & Universities.

hbcu

Because this state needs more good teachers – more good teachers who stay. We especially need more teachers of color to whom our students can look up to in the most impressionable times of their lives.

Studies show that students of color who have teachers of color achieve more in school.

And that Leandro report confirms that.

What Do North Carolina, Arkansas, Florida, and Idaho Have In Common? Indoctrination Witch Hunts

We are not the only state to start targeting teachers.

Last month our new Lt. Governor established a task force to expose indoctrination in our public schools.

As a concerned citizen you can now issue a complaint of indoctrination on the Lt. Gov.’s official website.

Yesterday, Idaho announced the same type of initiative.

Idaho Lt. Governor Janice McGeachin is working on putting together a task force to examine indoctrination in Idaho education and to protect our young people from the scourge of critical race theory, socialism, communism, and Marxism.

“As I have traveled around the state and spoken with constituents and parents, it has become clear to me that this is one of the most significant threats facing our society today. We must find where these insidious theories and philosophies are lurking and excise them from our education system,” Lt. Gov. McGeachin said. “Idahoans are increasingly frustrated by the apparent lack of awareness and leadership coming from the state on these issues.”

When Berger’s Spokesperson Says, “They Blocked Teacher Raises A Couple Of Years Ago,” He Forgets To Mention This.

Today it was reported that NC has fallen to 33rd in the country for teacher pay.

The process that NEA uses to figure teacher pay in this report is not as fluid as one might think. Too many states provide differing data and then it has to be normalized against other data when it hardly seems possible.

But it’s that “two years without raises” thing that is the topic of this post and what Sen. Berger’s spokesperson, Pat Ryan, said about that.

Actually, it ain’t that simple, Pat.

NCGA GOP stalwarts like Sen. Berger’s spokeperson are trying to frame the narrative that Gov. Cooper and NCGA Senate Democrats placed teachers on the chopping block because they upheld a veto on what was presented as a 3.9% average raise in teacher salaries a couple of years ago.

And that narrative is a gross misinterpretation of the reality.

On the surface, what Berger & Co. are presenting to the public is that teachers were to get a 3.9% average raise.

3.9 1

But many people forget that when budgets are written for the state, they are biennial budgets: two-year budgets. When teachers are said to be getting a 3.9% pay raise in “this budget,” it means it is over a two-year period. That “full” raise is not occurring immediately. Plus, any budget  can be amended in a future session to offset anything passed in this past summer.

3.9 2

Now, consider this when that “raise” was first presented a couple of years ago:

3.9 4

Step increases based on seniority according to that tweet above are also part of the “raises.” The issue is that those step increases had already passed in a mini-budget bill in the fall of 2019.

Lawmakers in the Senate Thursday passed what’s known as step increases for teachers.

It’s basically a bonus. For each year you’ve been a teacher, you’ll get about a $100 step increase up until a certain point but some are worried it’s not enough.

Lawmakers have been passing these ‘mini budgets’ since Governor Cooper vetoed the full budget, months ago.

That makes that whole narrative of leaving a 3.9% raise on the table even more misleading.

3.9 3

What Cooper and Senate Democrats vetoed was based on the last graphic there.

Actually that bill was this one – Senate Bill 354.

SB354 1

That bill would have put the following salary schedule in place for teachers.

SB354 2

It would have replaced this salary schedule.

schedule4

The problem is that there is not much of a difference. In fact, it would only affect teachers with 16+ years and even then, not much at all. Just look at the comparison.

SB354 3

What that translates to is a monthly increase of $50 for all teachers with 16-20 years of experience.

150$/month for teachers with 21-24 years of experience.

$60/month for teachers with 25+ years.

But look at it in this manner – Why? Because it is important to note that the number of veteran teachers in North Carolina has gone down in the last few years – especially when the current NCGA powers who are currently bragging about what SB354 was offering.

Kristin Beller, the president of the Wake County Association of Educators and a champion in public school advocacy, “ran” these numbers concerning the proposed raises in SB354 against the current numbers of teachers in the state (those numbers can be  found here).

true raise1

The first part concerns the numbers of teachers in the state broken down by experience.

beller1

Then she added numbers in the categories defined by SB354’s compensation ranges and showed the percentage of those groups as part of the entire teacher workforce.

beller2

Then she multiplied the number of teachers in each rung that would get a raise by the actual monthly raise defined by SB354 and then added those products together. That sum is the amount of overall money given to the raises.

beller3

Since the graphic near the beginning of the post “represents” the entire teaching profession getting an average “%3.9” raise, then it means that every teacher should have gotten something. Right?

Not so.

Furthermore, if you divide the sum of money to be used in the raises by the number of teachers in the state, you get… less than $33/month.

beller4

And yes, that bill had “raises” for the following year.

SB354 4

It does the exact same thing as the 2019-2020. Except it only adds $50 a month to each of the teachers in the 16+ year experience range.

That’s what Cooper vetoed.

His plan would have been much better for all teachers.

Great Teachers Can Admit They Are Wrong To Their Students

It was about a year ago when then President Donald Trump made an assertion that sunlight and heat could offer a cure for COVID-19.

On a stage in April of 2020 with 50,000 Americans dead (over 570,000 now) from the COVID-19 virus addressing a national audience in an election year with the economy crashing and unemployment rising by the second, you do not as a leader have any inkling of being sarcastic on live television.

wrong1

It wasn’t sarcasm.  Anyone who has taught for years in large public schools could expertly tell you that.

Just say “I was wrong.” And maybe apologize.

Teach thousands of classes, input thousands of grades, manage hundreds (even thousands) of students in a career, you will be wrong in front of students.

And they will catch you and put you on the spot.

Been there – a lot. And I will tell them I was wrong. I will let them argue with me about the answer or the process and if they are right and I was wrong, I will acknowledge it.

Why? Because I have learned that great teachers do that and I want to be a great teacher. If I am going to try and teach my students to be thinkers and inquisitive life-long learners, then I need to remove the obstacles and show them that I am not only capable of being wrong, but willing to keep learning from it.

When a new younger teacher comes into my school and teaches in the same department, one of the first pieces of advice I tell him/her is that they need to get over being the only person who is right. Having students call you out on wrong answers means they are listening and it makes you a better teacher because it shows where you might not be as strong as you will the next class.

Students will respect you for it. They may show it it in different ways. But they will respect you for it. And I have issued my share of apologies and wouldn’t take a single one of them back.

Plus, the “average” student I have in my classes is already a master at verbal irony – which is a rhetorical term.

This NCGA Just Doesn’t Want Veteran Public School Teachers Working In This State

7-11-OldTeachersMug

There are many on West Jones Street in Raleigh who are deathly afraid of when teachers come together to fight for public schools, and they are especially scared of the North Carolina veteran teacher.

Interestingly enough, you can still find veteran NC teachers in public schools. Many have graduate degrees in education and other vital fields, have due-process rights, and have survived many government-driven initiatives to change curriculum, testing, and evaluation protocols. These veteran teachers have also withstood the failed initiatives of merit pay, No Child Left Behind, and Race to the Top. Currently many are weathering, but still educating effectively, continued reforms in the wake of school voucher programs, ridiculous school measurement instruments, and lowered funding. Some even belong to education advocacy associations like NCAE.

And having these veteran NC teachers in our schools is vital to our students and our communities. Furthermore, they pave the way for newer teachers. If there are no more veteran NC teachers, then the new NC teachers will not transition into veterans themselves.

However, many profit-minded political poachers are lurking in legislative chambers hoping to alter the environment for these veteran teachers in hopes to prevent more from coming into fruition. Why? Because veteran teachers with due-process rights have the ability to provide a check and balance for the public school system like none other against the forces of personalities and profit that are mixed in NC’s politics.

And while there are still many veteran NC teachers in schools now, they are lower in number than five years ago, and those numbers will continue to dwindle if current conditions stay in place.

It will get to a point where the veteran NC teacher will be no longer. They will either go to other states or transition into another profession or early retirement.

They will be extinct. And our schools, students, and communities will suffer severely from that.

What actions have been taken to help eradicate our veteran teachers and keep new teachers from becoming veterans in North Carolina? They are many and they are deliberate.

  1. Removal of due-process rights. At one time the NC General Assembly took away due-process rights for all teachers. It was ruled unconstitutional by the court system in the case for those veteran teachers who already got those rights when they became fully certified. However, newer teachers in the profession will not get due-process rights in North Carolina. That will surely inhibit those teachers from advocating loudly for schools in the future for fear of reprisal.

And those teachers who had due-process rights may be retiring earlier than expected because of conditions.

New NC teachers cannot fully become veteran NC teachers if not allowed to stand up for themselves and the students they teach.

  1. Removal of Graduate Degree pay bumps. As with due-process rights, graduate degree pay bumps have been abolished. What once represented the only way (besides National Board Certification) to gain a promotion in pay was to get a relevant graduate degree. While many have argued that teachers with graduate degrees are not more effective, that argument is usually made by people who stand to profit from controlling teacher pay (https://www.ednc.org/2016/04/22/why-teachers-believe-advanced-degrees-matter/). New North Carolina teachers cannot become veteran North Carolina teachers if not allowed to work on becoming more qualified.
  2. Salary Scale “adjustments”. This current GOP-led NCGA put into place a new salary schedule a few years ago that literally tops out at a little over $53 K as the highest salary a new teacher could ever make in a thirty-year career. While many in the NCGA claim that salaries have gone up for teachers they lock in on a trivial word – “average.” It’s true that average salaries have gone up, but really only for the newer teachers. Veteran teachers did not receive these kinds of raises.

Besides, it is easier to pay three new teachers than two veteran teachers if you are only looking at the bottom line for salary. However, think of the mentoring and the effect on student achievement coming from those veteran teachers, especially if they are respected by the state.

Oh, and that doesn’t even begin the discussion of the removal of longevity pay, which in NC only applies to teachers.

New teachers in North Carolina cannot become veteran teachers in NC if they cannot make a salary that allows for them to support a family and/or have a mortgage.

  1. Removal of class size caps. When the legislation removed the caps on class size, it helped to balloon the number of students in a class for teachers. That applies to all teachers, k-12. Some systems made the switch to block scheduling as well for their high schools. Simply put, teachers are teaching more classes with more kids with less planning time and collaboration opportunities. If you remember NC’s “Class Size Chaos,” then you will be familiar with the unfounded claims by the NCGA that “extra” funds were given to school systems to help pay for more space and teachers to create smaller classes. Those claims were lies.

Also put into consideration the removal of funds for professional development and teachers are forced to either get re-certified in the summer on their own time and money, or they have to squeeze that professional development into the school year which takes away time from those bigger classes.

New teachers in North Carolina cannot become veteran teachers in NC if they are forced to teach so many kids that it takes away from the student/teacher dynamic crucial to learning.

  1. Too many standardized tests. The only thing a citizen has to do is to see how many tests are administered in a public school for the sake of measuring student achievement – EOG’s, EOCT’s, PSAT, PLAN, Pre-ACT, ACT, AP, ASVAB, etc.,etc.,etc.

And that doesn’t even touch the time needed to review for the exams or to take teacher made exams.

New teachers in North Carolina cannot become veteran teachers in NC if not allowed to have a say into what is on the test and how those tests are graded.

  1. Inconsistent teacher evaluation programs. Three words – Value Added Measures.

New teachers in North Carolina cannot become veteran teachers in NC if their effectiveness is measured arbitrarily.

  1. Lack of resources and less money per pupil. This has been explained so many times, but it can’t be stated enough.  –

New teachers in North Carolina cannot become veteran teachers in NC if they constantly are asked to do more with less and watch as charter schools and vouchers suck more money from traditional public schools.

  1. School grading system. This letter grading system used by the state literally shows how poverty in our state affects student achievement. What the state proved with this grading system is that it is ignoring the very students who need the most help — not just in the classroom, but with basic needs such as early childhood programs and health-care accessibility. These performance grades also show that schools with smaller class sizes and more individualized instruction are more successful, a fact that lawmakers willfully ignore when it comes to funding our schools to avoid overcrowding.

New teachers in North Carolina cannot become veteran teachers in NC if they are constantly being told that their schools are “failing” when they actually show substantial student growth.

Those are eight of the more visible ways that the NCGA has tried to alter the environment to eventually exterminate the North Carolina veteran teacher. To a certain extent, it has worked.

And there is no telling what this school year during a pandemic will do to the teaching ranks.

Some Questions For Any NC Policy Maker In Favor Of Students Taking Standardized Tests This Year

Can you name every standardized test you took while in high school?

Can you even remember the score(s)?

Do you know if they are still administered today? If so, in the same form?

Were any given online?

Did any college of post-secondary institution ask for those particular test scores besides possibly the SAT, ACT, or maybe some AP exams?

Did you have to attend school during a pandemic whether on a hybrid schedule or virtually?

Since you are not in school now, have you ever experienced what you think is “learning loss?”

Exam

Depending on which math and science track a student has in high school, it is conceivable that a student who matriculates in NC’s public schools will take MANY standardized tests.

That does not include any local benchmark assessments, the PSAT, the ACT, the Pre-ACT, or any of the AP exams that may come with Advanced Placement classes.

Throw in some PISA or NAEP participants. Maybe the ASVAB and the Workkeys.

There’s probably more.

When I graduated high school last century, I never had to take even one-tenth of these kinds of assessments. I think I remember one of my SAT scores – certainly not my “superscore.”

But we wrote a lot of essays in my school.

Not short answers.

Essays.

Graded by real people.

Maybe we could give every NC lawmaker an essay test. Maybe we could make them take the very standardized tests they force students in public schools to take.

And publish the scores.

This Pandemic Shows How Much NC Needs To Stop Using EVAAS

In October of 2017, the venerable James Ford (at the time of the Public School Forum) delivered the keynote address at the North Carolina English Teacher’s Association. It was more than exceptional as Ford highlighted that what hurts our schools most are external factors that are not being dealt with such as systemic poverty.

Part of his presentation included a version of what is called the “Iceberg Effect” for education. It looks like this:

iceberg

Ford talked about (and he is not alone in this belief) how what is above the water, namely student outcomes, is what drives educational policies in our state.

Notice that he means what is visible above the water line is what drives policy. That is what the public sees in the press. That is what lawmakers and leaders hark on when discussing what to do about public education. That is what is being used to measure the effectiveness of teachers and schools.

In 2013, the state of North Carolina started using a value-added measurement scale to help gauge teacher effectiveness and school performance. Developed by SAS which is headquartered in the Triangle area of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, EVAAS collects student data and creates reports that are used to measure teacher and school effectiveness.

EVAAS stands for “Education Value-Added Assessment System.” For teachers, it is supposed to give an indication of how well students are supposed to do in a given year on the tests that are used on evaluations. (Do not let it be lost on anyone that “EVAAS” scores were just released at the end of most schools’ first quarter after half of the block classes have already completed more than half of the curriculum’s work).

EVAAS has been the subject of a lot of scrutiny. It deserves every bit of that scrutiny. Why? Because the algorithms that it uses to come up with its calculations and reports are like a tightly held secret.

Think of the iceberg and what is seen and what is under the water line.

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction describes EVAAS as:

EVAAS examines the impact of teachers, schools, and districts on the learning of their students in specific courses, grades, and subjects. Users can access colorful, easy-to-understand charts and graphs via the Web, as well as produce customized reports that predict student success, show the effects of schooling at particular schools, or reveal patterns in subgroup performance (http://www.ncpublicschools.org/effectiveness-model/evaas/).

There is even a nice little video that one can go to in order to “understand how EVAAS” works (https://ncdpi.sas.com/videos/EVAAS/WhatIsEVAAS.mp4).

EVAAS pic

The whole video is an attempt to validate the use of EVAAS by the state. Except it does not tell anyone how “EVAAS performs value-added analysis.” The only people who know how that works are inside of the Hawkins National Laboratory or as we know it, SAS headquarters.

In March of 2017, Angela Scioli wrote a powerful piece for EDNC.org entitled “EVAAS: An incomplete and painful system for me.” In it she stated,

I did not change anything else about my teaching.  I did not know what to change.  No one met with me to intervene.  No one even spoke to me about the results.  It just sat there, like a black eye I couldn’t cover up, but no one wanted to talk about it.  

The next year, I received my EVAAS results, after using the same methods, and I was now deemed “highly effective.”  I was relieved and confused.  How could that be? (https://www.ednc.org/2017/03/21/evaas-incomplete-painful-system/).   

Justin Parmenter’s op-ed entitled “The cost of doing business in the education world” (August 9, 2017) was another powerful expose of a world in which EVAAS is being used to measure teachers and schools. He said,

In the years that followed, EVAAS was rolled out on a larger scale across the district and state, and similar data measuring teacher effectiveness was made available to more teachers. I was dismayed to see that, while some years I apparently had made a difference, there were other years when I did not make much of a difference at all. Some years I even made a negative difference (https://www.ednc.org/2017/08/09/cost-business-education-world/).

This criticism of EVAAS is not limited to North Carolina. From the National Education Policy Center:

Education Policy Analysis Archives recently published an article by Audrey Amrein-Beardsley and Clarin Collins that effectively exposes the Houston Independent School District use of a value-added teacher evaluation system as a disaster. The Educational Value-Added Assessment System (EVAAS) is alleged by its creators, the European software giant SAS, to be the “the most robust and reliable” system of teacher evaluation ever invented. Amrein-Beardsley and Collins demonstrate to the contrary that EVAAS is a psychometric bad joke and a nightmare to teachers” (http://nepc.colorado.edu/blog/houston-you-have-problem).

And the ambiguity of how SAS uses data within the EVAAS program is not lost on many people. From a 2014 WUNC report called “Ranking Teachers: NC Bets Big On A Complicated Stats Model,”

EVAAS is based on that student growth, not the test score itself. And the software is complicated – and some say largely secret. Teachers, principals, even administrators at the state level don’t know everything that goes into the model.

“Now the statisticians, and I’m not a statistician – I’m not the smartest guy in the world – they would say that stuff should even out, and I think they are correct, I’m sure it does even out, when you look at statewide data,” says Jim Key, an assistant superintendent in Durham. “But within a particular classroom? You could have more than a normal share of students who are going through some challenges with their personal lives” (http://wunc.org/post/ranking-teachers-nc-bets-big-complicated-stats-model#stream/0).

That last quote from Mr. Key accurately sums up the relationship between the EVAAS program and the Iceberg Effect.

Simply put, EVAAS only measures what is the tip of the iceberg that is above the water and then it tells us how to view it. It completely disregards what is under the water level.

LET ME REPEAT: EVAAS ONLY MEASURES WHAT IS TO BE SEEN, NOT WHAT LIES UNDERNEATH. IT IS ONLY CONCERNED WITH CERTAIN STUDENT OUTPUT. IT DOES NOT ACCOUNT FOR “INEQUITY & INEQUALITY,” “STRESS & VIOLENCE,” “SUPPORT FOR SCHOOLS,” AND “SUPPORT FOR YOUNG FAMILIES.”

Teachers and schools measured by EVAAS actually have to battle against all of the iceberg, not just the tip which is by far the smallest part of the iceberg.

The pandemic has shown us that.

The state pays more than three million dollars annually to SAS which was co-founded and is still run by Jim Goodnight who according to Forbes Magazine is one of the top donating executives to political campaigns. In 2016 he donated much to a PAC for Jeb Bush who while in Florida instituted the school performance grade system that North Carolina uses now – the same one that utilizes EVAAS reports to measure schools (https://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/blog/techflash/2015/10/forbes-sas-goodnight-among-tech-execs-for-top.html).

It also is worth looking at the fact that his wife, Ann Goodnight, is a co-founder and board member of BEST NC. When BEST NC had its 2018 legislative meeting it brought in the toxic Michelle Rhee and her campaign for value-added measurements to discuss policy. That “closed-door” meeting was held at SAS headquarters.

The fairly recent principal pay schedule that garnered well-deserved criticism was spearheaded by BEST NC with legislators behind the scenes over the summer utilizes EVAAS data.

Too much is being dictated by a private entity that is privately calculating data in a secret fashion to measure a public good and how much should be spent on that public good in a state that wants to privatize that public good.

There’s too much incestuous synergy there. And all of it is purposefully ignoring the part of the iceberg that is beneath the water line.

The pandemic certainly did not ignore what EVAAS ignores.

In using EVAAS, what the state of North Carolina is doing is sending schools on expeditions in remote icy waters without the use of radar and sonar to navigate themselves. It’s like the Titanic.

But instead of being surprised at the fact that the “unsinkable” actually succumbed to a lonely iceberg, the state has already made a hole in the hull for water to leak in, so even if the “ships” avoid hitting icebergs, they would already have a hard time reaching port. As the “unsinkable” ships begin to sink, the state says we must invest in other alternatives like charter school reform and vouchers, so the money starts going to other modes of “transportation.”

The problem is that the icebergs in our state are getting bigger and more are breaking off. As the income gap widens and as segregationist tendencies begin to take firmer root, systems like EVAAS will still serve as a façade of the actual truth which lies beneath the water.

Of course, SAS could release how it uses data and calculates its reports but that would require transparency.

But icebergs work best in cold, murky, choppy waters. And people in Raleigh like having big icebergs.

This Is Really How The NCGA Feels About Veteran Teachers

Imagine a room of 17 teachers. All of them have a bachelor’s degree. Each has a different number of years of experience. There is one teacher who has 15 years of experience, and for every year from 15-31 years of experience there is exactly one teacher. That makes 17 veteran teachers in the room.

Think of it as every teacher represents a different “step” in the teacher salary schedule from “15” to “31”

Below is the salary schedule for 2007-2008.

The salaries for this group would be represented by the left-hand columns.

Collectively speaking, they would as a group make $785,630. IN 2007-2008. Or collectively $78,563/month.

If all of them were nationally certified with same years of experience they would be on the right-hand side of the schedule.

Collectively speaking, they would as a group make $879,850. IN 2007-2008. Or collectively $87,985/month.

What if instead of a bachelor’s degree certification, all of those teachers had a master’s degree. They would then be on a different salary schedule in 2007-2008

If all of those teachers (still with the differences in experience) had a master’s degree, their collective salary would be $864,160 or $86,416/month. If they all had a master’s and national certification that total would be $967,860 or $96,786/month.

IN 2007-2008.

Now go to this current school year. Below is the current salary schedules for 2020-2021.

Please remember that these salary schedules have teachers between years 15-24 making the same salary. Teachers with 25+ make the same.

Again, let’s take 17 teachers representing an individual salary step between the years of 15 and 31 and run the same scenarios as was done with the 2007-2008 salary schedule.

You get this table:

Remember, that’s in actual dollars. Not adjusted for inflation.

Look at this representation of the data.

2.35% – 3.36% increases in REAL DOLLARS over 13 years.

That does not even account for longevity pay being taken away.

Imagine if this is added for those veteran teachers now.

So, does Phil Berger, Tim Moore, or Catherine Truitt want to explain this?

Because without even adjusting for inflation or rise in labor costs, it doesn’t really look like veteran teachers are being paid better now than 13 years ago.

That’s pathetic.

Oh, wait. Don’t forget that there are no longer graduate degree pay bumps.

Imagine what those numbers would be.