In the summer of 2017, BEST NC released an op-ed on EdNC.org about Shamrock Gardens Elementary School and their use of “advanced roles” for educators. And the piece made reference to BEST NC’s Education Innovation Plan, a bit of which is outlined below.
It’s an ingrained part of the new teacher licensure path as proposed by The Human Capital Roundtable this past winter. A good summary of that new proposal can be found on EdNC.org.
Besides the obvious references to failed reform efforts like merit pay, it also relies on teachers taking on “advanced” roles.
Advanced roles have been a hot topic before and has come back into the dialogue again as that idea of advanced roles was offered up in a pre-epection debate between the two candidates for state superintendent by Catherine Truitt.
In fact, she called for it (almost as if she has been listening to ideas from BEST NC).
Here’s the problem – we already have advanced roles. All teachers are doing more than they did in the past not because they opted-in, but because that’s what has been forced on them. Add to that many teachers are teaching more students in more classes.
In a state where the teaching profession has undergone assault after assault from lawmakers, many in Raleigh pin their opinions of teacher and school performance on test results and financial bottom lines. They then craft policies that match those opinions.
So I want to ask a non-rhetorical question of Catherine Truitt: “What exactly is the job description of a North Carolina public school teacher?”
Then I would ask her, “So what advanced roles were you thinking about in this interesting construct of public education?”
These are by no means loaded questions or inquiries asked to create a nebulous web of answers that would cloud the actual debate. But if public education is to be the issue that defines another session of the NC General Assembly which holds the budget hostage over teacher pay, that decides votes in a huge upcoming election year, and that all people already have some sort of stake in, then what the role of a public school teacher in North Carolina might need to be more understood.
Is it to deliver curriculum and teach mastery?
Is it to help students grow into productive citizens?
Is it to “teach” the whole child – intellectually, mentally, emotionally, etc.?
Is it to get students to pass standardized tests?
Is it to keep students safe?
Is it all all of those things and much more?
Below is a screenshot from the statutes of the General Assembly concerning the “duties” of teachers.
They include a variety of “duties,” some more defined than others: discipline, “teaching,” reporting, provide for well-being, medical care, keep order, etc.
Now throw in some other factors and variables that have a direct effect on those “duties” like poverty, hunger, sickness, apathy, lack of resources, overcrowding, and respect for the profession. It makes those duties in the above statute seem a little more expansive.
So, what is the real job description of a public high school teacher in North Carolina that considers the defined duties, expectations, and realities of public educators? And are you willing to share that as a lawmaker who makes decisions on how teachers are resourced, treated, and viewed? If not, then you might need to educate yourself.
Because it sounds like we already have a lot of “advanced roles.”