No more pay raises for teachers with advanced degrees? - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

No more pay raises for teachers with advanced degrees?

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

State Senator Malcolm Graham says teachers in North Carolina should be mad as hell for what is about to happen to them.

This budget includes eliminating teacher assistants, getting rid of teacher tenure, no pay raises and not paying teachers more for getting advanced degrees.

"I think that's going to make teachers not want to teach here," Math teacher Jerold Griggs said. "Want to move to states that do pay teachers for their Masters degree."

Griggs is spending his summer online getting a Masters.  He has been a teacher for 13 years and is currently a 7th grade math teacher for the Kannapolis school district.  The teacher says his pay has been frozen for the past 10 years. He thought getting a Masters degree would not only help him professionally but also financially.

"My thinking was that I will be able to get my Masters degree, Grigg said. "Get a raise and hopefully things wouldn't be so tight."

Lawmakers are set to do away with that type of reward system.

"It hurts." Griggs said.

The Chief of Staff for Senator Phil Berger's office gives the reason why.

"North Carolina has some of the finest teachers in the country and we want to recognize and reward those teachers with a pay for excellence system. We included $10.2 million in the second year to fund annual pay raises for the most effective teachers. Studies indicate that graduate degrees have little to no effect on student achievement. That's why we're implementing a pay for excellence system."

Grigg is concerned even the most effective teachers can have a challenging time getting the job done in the classrooms.

"I don't have a pick or say of who I teach," Griggs said. "I don't know what kind of economical or home background they are coming from. What type of support system they have at home. I do the best job I can do every day."

Teachers are ready to fight back by writing their legislators to tell them to reconsider their thinking about advanced degrees.  If lawmakers continue to move forward on this plan, Griggs will be upset.

"Our family will continue to struggle financially," Griggs said. "It is what it is, and God will take care of us."

The state will grandfather in teachers will advanced degrees. They have to obtain in by July 1, 2014, and they will get a pay raise. Griggs is scheduled to earn his Masters in 2015.

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