Just A Reminder That Righteous & Reactionary Anger Is Not The Best Qualification To Run For School Board

In some school systems such as mine, all seats for the school board are up for grabs in this next election. Possibly nine new members could be leading the school system come next calendar year. The field for the WSFCS school board elections before primaries was 28 strong.

If you really looked at the platforms of many of the candidates in this particular race (and I am sure in many other places), most of their reasons for running stem from a lack of satisfaction in how the pandemic was handled in our schools. They yell about learning loss and mental health issues that arose supposedly from masking and closing down school buildings as if those decisions were not made with the best possible information that science and medicine gave us at the time and before a vaccine was available that has worked remarkably well.

And while many people may be “done” with COVID-19, it is not done with us.

Some candidates are running on a refusal that the pandemic forced a group of leaders in an unprecedented time to make decisions when none of the choices were convenient.

Some candidates are not willing to address the mental health stressors that were already in society that were not caused by masks and closed buildings but were exacerbated by the pandemic.

Some candidates are screaming about indoctrination in our schools yet cannot point to one verified example in which there is institutional indoctrination except when using slippery slopes, all or nothing claims, and other logical fallacies.

Some candidates want to talk about learning loss as if it was caused solely by our response to COVID. Yet those same people will not talk about what stipulations and mandates the state has put on our public schools that take away from actual instructional time.

Some candidates claim they can fix problems that really involve the state and not the local system.

And many of those candidates have not offered one tangible solution within their cacophony of rhetoric that is plausible. They’ve spent all of their time and energy pointing fingers and making unfounded claims.

Those candidates also have the least amount of knowledge (it appears) of how a school system actually works, who is responsible for what actions, and how schools operate. And they sure as hell have not talked about what they would do about a teacher shortage that is going to do nothing but get worse throughout the summer months.

There are candidates who possess more experience with public schools than a vast majority of the candidates combined who have not built their platforms on righteous and reactionary anger but on what they know can be done and can be advocated for. They know how schools work.

And they are not spending their time shouting at others, but looking for solutions to problems that we have never faced before.

Even if they belong to different political parties.

Those are the people we need on school boards.

Do You Know What NC’s Teacher Pay Penalty Is?

The Economic Policy Institute releases a report every year that tracks what is called the “teacher pay penalty.”

What is that? EPI says it occurs when teachers “are paid less (in weekly wages and total compensation) than their nonteacher college-educated counterparts, and the situation has worsened considerably over time.

And NC doesn’t fare well.

The link to the report can be found here.

So where does NC rank overall?

North Carolina is at -24.5%.

In a state that ranks #1 for doing business.

In a state that sitting on record surpluses because it will not invest in social services.

In a state that still has the lowest allowable federal minimum wage.

In a state that has this going on:

The NC Chamber Of Commerce Is No Friend Of Public Education In This State

In late July, over 50 business leaders filed a statement urging the NC Supreme to back a judge’s order to fund the Leandro plan.

The list of signers included leaders associated with the state Chamber of Commerce.

Here’s a twitter feed from Keung Hui, the education reporter from the News & Observer when that amicus brief came out.

Here’s a link to the amicus brief.

But then this happened (from the Carolina Journal):

They not only claim misrepresentation. THEY DON”T SUPPORT LEANDRO AT ALL!

From WRAL.com:

The NC Chamber of Commerce’s statement can be found here.

In it, there is this statement:

“Let’s be clear. The NC Chamber is fully supportive of a continued dialogue on investment in education. Unfortunately, the action at the N.C. Supreme Court on the Leandro case isn’t just about education funding. The primary issue is now whether the N.C. Supreme Court has the authority to direct the appropriations process. The separation of powers clearly directs this discussion to take place on Jones Street, at the N.C. General Assembly, not Morgan Street, in the courts.”

That statement about being “fully supportive of a continued dialogue on investment in education” is interesting.

It probably should say, “fully supportive of a one-sided dialogue on investing in private entities that negatively reform education.”

Co-sponsoring with SAS is co-sponsoring with the company that produces EVAAS.

Do you need a refresher on how bad EVAAS is for public education?

The Formula To Privatize Public Education In North Carolina

Here’s the formula:

1. Defund

Teacher Pay Kept Well Below National Average
Less Money Spent per Pupil When Adjusted For Inflation 
Frozen Salaries For Years 15-24
Ignorance of LEANDRO Decision
Budget Taking Three Years To Pass

2. Attack

Removal of Due-Process Rights 
Graduate Degree Pay Bumps Removed 
Retiree Health Benefits Removed For New Teachers
Push for Merit Pay and Bonus Pay 
Removal of Longevity Pay 
Attacks on Teacher Advocacy Groups (NCAE) 
Revolving Door of Standardized Tests 
Reorganization and a Weakening of the Department of Public Instruction 
Remove Caps on Class Sizes 
Cutting Teacher Assistants        
Reduction of Teacher Candidates in Colleges 
Elimination & Reinventing of Teaching Fellows Program 
Indoctrination Accusations
CRT Accusations
Change Curriculum

3. Give Appearance Things Aren’t Working (False Narrative)

EVAAS
Revolving Door of Standardized Tests 
Amorphous Measures Like “Graduation Rates”
School Grading System 

4. Introduce Reforms That Privatize

Read to Achieve 
Educational Savings Accounts 
Opportunity Grants 
Charter Schools 
Virtual Charter Schools 
Innovative School Districts 

Could Totally See Mark Robinson Doing This To Public Education In NC If He Became Governor

From Florida with love.

And remember that they gave us the blueprints for both the school performance grading system and the Read to Achieve program.

“At” The Table or “On” the Menu: Once Again DPI Showing It Does Not Want To Listen To Teachers

Might want to read this one by Justin Parmenter on his blog Notes From the Chalkboard:

What Parmenter’s post reminds veteran teachers is that we can be either “at” the table or “on” the table.

For teachers in North Carolina, there are many other prepositions that could identify the relationship between the legislation process and teacher input such as “under” the table, “without” a place at the table, or not “behind” those closed doors.

As a veteran public school teacher, when I see entities like BEST NC or other “business-minded” reformers defending or lauding a piece of legislation or pushing an initiative like this merit pay proposal, I take it with a grain of salt.

Or an entire salt block.

Aside from the glowing generalities that sprinkle the rhetoric of many a reformer, too many of these “innovations” that have been created and enacted in North Carolina lack a crucial and vital component: teacher input.

Think of  those “new and pioneering solutions” that include the new teacher licensure and pay plan, the continuing rise of charter schools, the expansion of vouchers, the gutting and rebirth of a distant relative in the Teaching Fellows Program, and much more.

They all have one thing in common: no wide teacher input.

When the NC General Assembly went into GOP hands and McCrory came to the governor’s mansion, the process of “reforming” education began in earnest. There was the removal of due-process rights, the removal of graduate degree pay, push for merit pay, bonus pay, removal of longevity pay, removal of class size caps and then the recent hoaxes of indoctrination and the teaching of CRT.

The list goes on.

Were there any teachers involved in these reforms? Any teacher advocacy groups consulted? Any way a teacher could chime in other than a questionnaire that only one question on it that allowed for multiple answers from a prepared drop-down menu?

Those are not rhetorical questions. And considering that the current General Assembly seems bent upon diluting the voice of groups like NCAE, it should not be a stretch to realize that teachers are not consulted when it comes to schools.

There are a slew of bills dealing with teachers and public schools that will be debated this next long session that will probably have no real teacher input. And while many may have the veneer of goodwill, underneath they still may be hollow.

When education reformers try and push their agendas can they actually really claim that they have extended relationships with actual teachers and teacher groups?

At one time we as a state helped lead the South in educational innvation.

We sure did. We were considered one of the most progressive public education state systems in the southeast.

But that was before teachers were not allowed to be “at” the table any longer.

However, there are ways that the table ( and the menu) can be reclaimed.

One is to vote for pro-public education leaders who listen to teachers.

Did You See What The North Carolina Association Colleges Of Teacher Educators Said About The New Teacher Licensure Proposal? You Should.

You can find the entire document here with links.

But here’s the text:

August 8, 2022 

Position Statement – Recommendations for NC Licensure Proposal 

This document is to share recommendations from NCACTE regarding the licensure proposal  currently under consideration by the Professional Education Preparation and Standards  Commission (PEPSC). NCACTE membership institutions, both public and independent, will be  impacted by this proposal; representatives from these institutions have been deeply engaged in  this work since the launch of the PEPSC subcommittees.  

The proposal, which has generated a lot of attention, was originally conceived by the NC  Human Capital Roundtable (HCRT) which in turn, met under the guidance of the Southern  Regional Education Board (SREB). Neither of these groups have any legislative authority in  North Carolina. Nonetheless, the Roundtable group met for many months to develop this new  teacher licensure model, which combines licensure with a salary structure. Despite the high  impact of this work, no notes or minutes were officially kept of these meetings. The original  proposal was touted as a way to increase both teacher supply and teacher quality by removing  supposed barriers while simultaneously increasing “off ramps” for ineffective teachers – a tricky  feat at best given how quickly districts are hemorrhaging teachers. Notably absent in the  original proposal’s development were three groups most impacted by the proposal – teachers,  public school human resource directors, and university-based educator preparation programs  (EPPs). The process raised serious questions about collaboration and inclusivity of relevant  stakeholder groups. In response PEPSC formed four subcommittees to examine the proposal  and provide feedback. The subcommittees include a mix of public-school officials, government  officials, university EPP faculty, NCAE representatives, alternative teacher preparation  programs, and SBE/PEPSC board members.  

As members of the subcommittees, we were leery and optimistic at the same time: leery  because this proposal was seemingly developed out of nowhere (What IS the Human Capital  Roundtable? What is their purpose?) but optimistic that PEPSC was now seeking feedback from  stakeholder groups. This was an opportunity for real and meaningful discussions about how  teachers are licensed: what current barriers exist not related to teacher or student  performance that could be removed? How can these groups collaborate and provide authentic feedback? How could we use the proposal to advocate for increased teacher pay? Excited by  this prospect, and unaware of the machinations of various groups behind the scenes,  subcommittee members dug in.  

From the beginning, the proposal seemed to be driven by DPI personnel. Right or wrong, DPI  personnel became the “go to” people to interpret the proposal, answer questions, take  minutes, schedule meetings, and synthesize the feedback. It was clear that DPI personnel had  been involved in the Human Capital Roundtable meetings and had been tapped as the ones  now to push it through. At the first subcommittee meetings, members were told in explicit  terms that their role was not to change the proposal but only to figure out a way to implement  it. What was the point in even holding subcommittee meetings if no feedback for potentially  improving the model would be accepted? This rocky start set the tone for the overall process; in  May 2021, NCACTE officially raised questions about the process and the proposal by sending a  formal letter to PEPSC Chair Patrick Miller. Our questions primarily related to our perception of  the reduced role of high-quality teacher preparation in the model and the impact of proposed  “effectiveness” measures to assess teacher performance for salary increases. We were assured  that our feedback would be considered for future revisions of the model. For the last 15  months, the subcommittees met and discussed the proposal. We talked about key issues, made  suggestions, and considered differing points of view. In February 2022, NCACTE created a list of  recommendations from our Advocacy & Policy Committee and sent it to our stakeholders,  including PEPSC members. In March 2022, the strawman version of the Roundtable proposal was unveiled for the State Board of Education. It was like a gut check. Despite our feedback and  suggestions for improvement, fundamentally little had changed with the proposal since its  original inception by the Roundtable group. A few details were added but that was all. In May  2022, NCACTE sent a final communication to PEPSC, again specifically raising questions about  implementation and the overall viability of the proposal in the hopes that final subcommittee  meetings would address these concerns.  

As the model continues to gain scrutiny, additional details have emerged, thanks in large part to  public information requests and citizen-reporting by classroom teacher Justin Parmenter and  others. Emails from individuals working for the Southern Regional Education Board and the  Human Capital Roundtable, various documents and meeting notes indicate that the objective  was to push the proposal forward regardless of any feedback that might call for a change of course. “I thought that CT (NC Superintendent Catherine Truitt) wanted to squash outside focus  groups and surveys? Or has that tune changed?” wrote Megan Boren, Project Manager of the  Southern Regional Education Board, to PEPSC Chairman Patrick Miller, in an email dated as  recently as April 20. In an email dated March 9 to DPI personnel, Chair Miller, and the  Roundtable members, Heather White from the PR firm Eckel & Vaughan advised that when  discussing the plan, “try avoiding phrases that emphasize the plan’s complexity or the burden it  would put upon districts to manage” — advice that seems to discourage transparent dialogue  about the realities of implementation. This advice was definitely taken to heart by the DPI staff;  when subcommittee members asked questions about anticipated difficulties in implementing  this plan, we were told more than once that the purpose of the subcommittees was not to  discuss implementation of the proposal, only to provide feedback about the plan itself. That’s  like asking NASA to launch a man into space with no plan of how to return him to Earth safely.  What’s the point of developing a proposal that could potentially become an implementation  nightmare? It has been noted by many on the subcommittees that this current proposal  appears extremely burdensome and complex to track for both NCDPI licensure staff and public school units. Many of the implementation details for this licensure proposal remain  unanswered at this time, pending final presentation of the model to PEPSC in September 2022.  

From the beginning, NCACTE members have worked in good faith to review the Human Capital  Roundtable Proposal (now rebranded as the more positive-sounding “Pathways to Excellence”  proposal) and have been transparent about its strengths and our concerns with it. On the plus  

side, we support increasing compensation for all teachers, compensating student teachers,  funding clearly structured advanced teaching positions that allow teachers to stay and lead in  classrooms, and creating pathways for experienced teacher assistants to move into teaching  positions with support. However, as of August 1, there are still several areas of concern with  the model. These have been shared in previous communications and remain unaddressed to  date. As such, we outline our recommendations below. We observe that several of these  recommendations also appear in documents from the NC Public School Forum and NCAE.  

Recommendations 

1. Elevate, Rather than Devalue EPP Preparation in North Carolina. 

Although the marketing materials tout the proposal as lifting up EPPs, in fact, we believe it does  the opposite. Students who complete the traditional teacher training path will receive higher compensation in this proposal, but that group is shrinking. Traditional undergraduate  enrollment in teacher education programs is decreasing in this state. Once our biggest source  of future educators, our best and brightest high school students are now flocking to other  professions. This has caused the state to double down on alternative entry programs (originally  known as “lateral entry” programs). According to the NC DPI EPP Enrollment dashboard,  alternative entry teacher enrollment in NC has increased 114% since 2015. Alternative entry  teachers hold a bachelor’s degree and can be hired directly as teachers into the classroom.  Current policies require these individuals to simultaneously enroll in an approved EPP and be  trained in pedagogy, student learning needs, and engaging teaching practices. This is not an  ideal situation; we all agree that in a perfect world, rigorous and supervised training would  occur BEFORE an individual is given a classroom of children to teach. None of us would go to a  doctor who had never been to medical school or a lawyer who had never taken a law class.  Alternative entry policies were intended to be a band-aid, not a long-term solution.  

Instead of incentivizing EPP completion prior to employment by offering stipends or free  tuition and fees to those who opt to fully train as teachers, the Roundtable proposal doubles  down on alternative entry as the future of teacher preparation. The Roundtable proposal  allows alternative entry individuals to bypass an EPP altogether by way of “microcredentials,”  online mini-lessons which are not yet developed (that we’ve seen) OR “another approved  process” that also may qualify OR by passing certain tests OR by enrolling in an EPP program.  This is like allowing a doctor to bypass medical school if they can pass the test at the end of the  program without any training. Are there those who can do it? Sure. Is there more to becoming  a doctor than being able to pass a test? Absolutely. We all rely on the rigorous standards of  medical schools to determine if our doctors are qualified – we can trust in the training process  to ensure our doctors have been observed and evaluated and are able to diagnose our ailments  and treat them effectively. Shouldn’t the same be true of our teachers?  

2. Ensure Quality Teacher Education through Rigorous Accreditation/Program Approval. NC’s Educator Preparation Programs have been responsive to the teacher vacancy crisis. Even  as policy disincentives (like stopping master’s pay and limited salary increases) have  contributed to the diminished teacher supply, EPPs have worked consistently to recruit and  train quality teachers for NC classrooms. We have streamlined our programs to allow for quick  completion with high quality, research-based preparation methods. We have designed affordable programs for second-career changers to pursue teaching as a profession. We  established 2+2 programs with community college partners to increase and diversify pipelines  to the profession. We have worked with our school partners to collaborate on tailored teacher recruitment programs and offered scholarships and funding for teacher training. We have been  supportive of efforts to create fair accountability models for EPPs. In good faith and with the  best of intentions, we have put our collective energies into putting qualified and trained  teachers in North Carolina classrooms, even as enacted policies make our jobs more and more  difficult. We have 50+ EPP programs in our state, many of them offering online options,  reduced costs, and maximum flexibility. Many university-based EPP programs are accredited by  either CAEP or AAQEP, thereby ensuring a high level of quality and rigor. EPP completers have  extensive clinical experiences, including a 600-hour student teaching internship and a licensure  recommendation process that involves observation and evaluation by the supervising teacher,  the principal, and the university supervisor in a collaborative partnership. In NC, EPP completers  stay longer in the profession than other pathways and are more successful.  

We truly believe that no longer requiring EPP completion in lieu of less rigorous options is not  “flexibility,” but rather a significant reduction in our standards for teacher preparation that  will result in greater numbers of underprepared teachers leading classrooms. In recent years,  the number of alternative licensing programs that function as businesses has increased (e.g.,  Teachers of Tomorrow, #TEACH, etc). These preparation providers tout themselves as high quality solutions to the teacher shortage, but evidence suggests this is not the case. A recent  report from AACTE shows that across the U.S. while many prospective teachers enroll in  alternative preparation programs not based in higher education institutions, they are not  producing the number of teachers needed to fill critical vacancies. In Texas, Teachers of  Tomorrow (which also operates in North Carolina) was recently put on probation for their poor  teaching practices. Are there some alternatively licensed teachers who are successful? Of  course. But as policy, alternative licensure programs undeniably resulted in less credentialed and qualified teachers overall. The model may also inadvertently exacerbate inequities in NC  classrooms. Research shows that children in less affluent communities are taught by teachers  with less experience and training, a problem exacerbated by the “churn” of teachers leaving  classrooms in NC. Under the auspices of increasing teacher recruitment, the proposal provides  multiple ways for individuals with no teaching qualifications to immediately enter the  classroom. 

3. Increase Compensation for Experience and Advanced Credentials. 

In addition to the disincentivizing of traditional teacher preparation in lieu of alternative entry,  we continue to also be concerned with the lack of stable, reliable salary increases for teachers  missing in this model. The new positions proposed with advanced teaching roles may represent  a leadership path for some individuals – a move which is welcomed as a possible path for  teacher advancement – but the advanced licensure levels do not mean everyone who achieves  those levels will qualify or be hired into one of those positions. Minutes from the most recent  Budget and Compensation subcommittee meeting suggest there is still much discussion on  salary recommendations for teachers in this proposal. And the ongoing “merit pay” debate on  which effectiveness measures will be used to determine if teachers receive additional pay has  garnered much pushback from the teaching community at large. As of August 1, the proposal  does not include any recommendations for regular, annual salary increases for all teachers. We  believe the failure to recognize and reward teachers for their experience as well as their  achievements is a mistake. In any other profession, longevity and experience are valued. We  should be considering salary structures that allow for robust teaching salaries as a starting  point, with any additional compensation structures to be supplemental incentives. Other states have recently made such changes in efforts to staunch the flow of teaching vacancies.  Furthermore, advanced credentials, such as North Carolina’s significant investment in National  Board Certification should be clearly included and incentivized in the model. As recently as July  2022, former Governor Hunt advised North Carolina to include teachers in these conversations  and to ensure National Board certification remains “an important component” of the model. As  the folks who most directly work with individuals seeking teaching licensure and working  toward advanced credentials, EPPs can assure policymakers that raising teacher salaries overall  for all experience levels will function as a powerful recruitment incentive.  

4. Attend to Implementation Now, Not Later. 

We feel compelled to point out that there seem to be underlying forces driving this work  forward in spite of the fact that this model still needs lots of refinement and work. This  summer’s revelations of various behind-the-scenes conversations to discourage input even as  the subcommittees continued to meet is highly troubling. As already noted, this proposal was  crafted by the Human Capital Roundtable with no input from the people who work most closely  with teacher licensure in our state, the people who can readily explain the problems and can articulate issues and solutions. Instead, a proposal has been pushed forward that we believe  will result in serious implementation problems and will move the responsibility of teacher  preparation away from the colleges and universities that are situated and qualified to handle it  and on to the school districts, who are already strained for resources.  

5. Engage Educational Stakeholders as Partners, not Obstacles.  

It has been suggested that, in taking such a position, EPPs are “protecting our own turf.” That is  highly insulting and disingenuous as it implies that EPPs have an ulterior motive at play here.  EPPs in NC have been preparing the best teachers in our state for decades and EPP faculties are  committed, caring individuals who have dedicated their careers to training teachers because we  are deeply concerned about teaching as a profession. Most EPP faculty have been teachers or  administrators at some point – we’ve been in the trenches; we know the rigors of the  profession. We consider ourselves partners with our P-12 colleagues in educating North  Carolina’s children. We may not be the ones with ulterior motives here. One could easily ask  who profits by allowing microcredential vendors to market their products to alternative entry  teachers? Who benefits by allowing less-prepared teachers in classrooms? Certainly not the  children of North Carolina, nor their families, nor our communities. Rather than denigrate  educational partners across the P-20 landscape, we ask leadership to engage all partners  thoughtfully and authentically in this work, so we may learn from one another’s expertise. If we  partner well, North Carolina’s students and their families will be the true winners. 

In closing, we would like to add that we acknowledge we have not yet seen the final version of  the proposal that will be presented to PEPSC, and we hope that some of our suggestions and  comments are considered moving forward. It is not our intention to derail this project, but  rather, to create a model that can work and has the support of all stakeholder groups. If the  intention of the proposal is to incentivize EPP completion as the first, best path for teacher  preparation, then that proposal should clearly and forcefully reflect that. NCACTE and its  members wholeheartedly support a model that can reduce barriers for becoming teachers,  produce high-quality teachers for all children, and compensate teachers for the hard work they  do. We look forward to continuing these evolving conversations.  

The North Carolina Association of Colleges for Teacher Education

10 Intentionally Cruel Ironies About Public Education in NC

  1. North Carolina has had record budget surpluses but refuses to acknowledge the LEANDRO decision that emphatically states that NC has failed to fully fund our public school system for decades.
  2. Teachers fill out a working conditions survey every other year for the state that has no questions about how teachers feel the state handles public education, but Supt. Truitt has a process for a statewide Parent Advisory Committee that allows for individual input.
  3. SAS releases EVAAS scores for a current class well after the school year has begun. In the case for high school block classes, these EVAAS scores come nearer to the end of the semester than at the beginning.
  4. Most of the exams for fall semesters take place after the winter break.
  5. The NCGA has taken away graduate degree pay, longevity pay, and due-process rights and called them reforms to strengthen the teacher pipeline.
  6. Failed initiatives like NC’s virtual charter schools and the Read to Achieve program get added funding and more support when data shows they are failing miserably.
  7. North Carolina is #1 in the country for businesses, but is near the bottom in public education funding.
  8. Leaders in the NCGA boasted an average teacher salary of over $54,000 in 2021-2022 when they released a salary schedule could never sustain that average.
  9. The School Performance Grading system does a better job of showing how poverty affects student achievement than it does showing how teachers help students grow.
  10. North Carolina has more NBCT’s than any other state, has arguably one of the better public university systems in the nation, and has a plethora of quality private institutions that offer teacher training, but the state has a manufactured teacher shortage.

Hold Them Harmless! About That Absolutely Horrible NC Principal Pay System.

It was so bad when it was first constructed that it had to be placed on hold.

Remember it was a creation of BEST NC, the business lobbying firm that is housed on the campus of SAS, the company that brought us EVAAS and is owned by Jim Goodnight, a major campaign contributor to GOP candidates on the state level.

So bad it was that Brenda Berg of BEST NC had to write an open defense of the plan in 2017.

BEST NC is committed to working with state leaders to build on the state’s new plan and correct unintended consequences. We have consistently advocated that no principal should see a drop in pay as a result of this plan. Since this summer, we have worked in consultation with state associations and educator groups on technical corrections to ensure that no principal sees a loss in pay this year, and to create greater stability for all principals by extending the provision into future years. Going forward, we are also committed to refining the plan to increase incentives for great leaders to serve in struggling schools; and to continuing to increase North Carolina’s investment in school leaders overall.

At that time, principal pay in NC was abysmal, but so badly conceived was this plan to link principal pay to achievement scores in a state that relied so much on SAS’s secret algorithm to “measure” an educator’s worth that the pre-pandemic, GOP-dominated, stingy NCGA held principals harmless.

Then this from the past week:

Now principals are going to have their pay altered based on ONE YEAR OF EVAAS DATA?

Five years after its inception, the state is now going to put this horrible plan into action in a year where public education is suffering from record vacancies and we are just coming out of the pandemic.

Oh, and since that 2017 op-ed mentioned earlier, the state has been told by the courts that it is not fully funding public education (LEANDRO) and we have a surplus built on the backs of taxpayers being used to fuel a narrative that we need to create more tax breaks for businesses in NC.

So, where is that business lobbying firm called BEST NC on this issue now? Maybe, they haven’t heard because they are too busy pushing this:

Are You Effing Kidding Me, Supt. Truitt?

If you are a teacher in NC’s public schools with more than five years experience teaching our students, you should have been incredibly offended by the words offered yesterday by State Superintendent Catherine Truitt on the new teacher licensure and pay proposal.

First of all, the title already tells you that Truitt’c claim that the new plan is not based on merit pay actually is a plan based on … wait… merit pay. When SAS (the creator of EVAAS) is part of the equation in the only state that measures achievement well over growth in school performance grades, paying teachers based on performance is nothing more than merit pay.

Call it “differentiated pay,” “performance pay,” “bonus pay,” or “outcome-based pay” it still is nothing more than “merit pay.”

But the contents of the report overshadow the hypocrisy of the title. Consider this part near the beginning of Hui’s article:

“Willing to take on additional duties?” Where is the time? And tell me a teacher who has been through the last few years with a pandemic going on that already did not have those extra duties in a state that has a legal decision (LEANDRO) stating that NC has not been funding public education adequately for decades. Class size caps have been removed for years and salaries still lag behind national averages by great lengths.

And that “encourage enough teachers to enter or stay in the profession” bit? Just this past March, Truitt said something that totally seems contradictory when she wrote that “attrition rates” in our teaching force have been relatively stable.

From that EdNC.org perspective:

“The results: remarkable stability. Overall, North Carolina teacher attrition increased from 7.5% to 8.2%. Of the 94,328 teachers employed by the state, 624 more left the teaching profession than the year before. In fact, dissatisfaction within the teaching profession fell 35% from the prior year, with 137 teachers in the 2019-20 year versus 89 in 2020-21.”

So in the last four to five months, teacher dissatisfaction just ballooned? Could be how they feel about DPI’s leadership or the new teacher pay plan?

Back to the N&O article.

“Enrollment in our colleges of education has fallen over the last few years?” Wow! They just noticed? Maybe look at reversing these actions first because that’s what has led to that “fall.”

Here’s another blurb:

Experience is not a priority for them?” Maybe ask that of parents with students in public schools. But wait, part of the very plan of the people Truitt really serves is to get rid of as many veteran teachers as possible. Saves money. Keeps people from advocating loudly. Less retirement money to be spent. Creates need for “school choice.”

All those “good” things.

But here is the part that might be the most egregious:

Legacy thinking?” “The past?” That’s odd coming from someone who literally is part of that legacy and a spokesperson /advisor for the people who so crafted the past that made this “present” so unstable for the profession that we have to move “toward solutions to address the future.”

In 2016, then McCrory education advisor Catherine Truitt penned this perspective in EdNC.org.

In that op-ed, Truitt said the following”

“The truth is, total K-12 funding has increased each year of Gov. McCrory’s administration and North Carolina now spends 57 percent of its state budget on education, far higher than the national state average of 46 percent.”

What she didn’t say in that perspective was that NC’s constitution stipulates that the state mainly finances public education. Actually that percentage has been even higher prior to Truitt’s time in office. Since most of the state funding goes to salaries of certified and classified employees, the fact the percentage of funds from the state is not higher than it was in years past is indicative of the stagnated salaries NC gives to teachers and assistants. With the elimination of funds for professional development and the cutting numbers of teaching assistants, how could she brag about the level of money spent on public schooling?

“Teacher salary raises enacted in 2014 reversed the pay freezes that were enacted under Gov. Beverly Perdue shortly after she took office in 2009. In fact, the 7 percent increase in average teacher salary between the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years was the largest teacher pay raise in the entire nation.”

First, Perdue had to navigate through the Great Recession. Second, she used that word “average.” Beginning teachers saw an average pay hike of over ten percent, yet the more years a teacher had, the less of a “raise” was given. The result was an AVERAGE hike of 6.9 percent, but it was not an even distribution. In fact, some veterans saw a reduction in annual pay because much of the “raise” was funded with what used to be longevity pay.

If the pay got to be so great under Truitt’s former boss, then why is it even more of an issue now?

“The budget he signed provides funds to reduce class size in first grade to one teacher per 16 students by 2016-17. He also signed legislation that will dramatically increase access to summer reading camps to ensure every student achieves the needed literacy by third grade.”

Does she really want to talk about class size now?

“In 2014, the governor increased choice for low income parents by enacting the Opportunity Scholarship that provides financial assistance for alternative schooling for students who are not succeeding in a traditional school setting.”

If she thought that it was necessary for funds to be given to people to get them a good education, then why not have invested that very money in the very public schools she was constitutionally supposed to support to help those very students succeed in their public schools?

And look at how much more we as a state are giving to that unregulated voucher system.

What a legacy, Supt. Truitt.

What an effing legacy.