NC teacher shares concerns over proposal to change teacher licenses, pay scale

The Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission is working on the proposal
This model would factor in a teacher's effectiveness based on student performance, mentorship, and professional development.
Published: Oct. 10, 2022 at 6:57 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A proposal is in the works that would affect how teachers across North Carolina obtain their licenses and income.

The Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission (PEPSC) is working on a proposal that would redesign the teacher licensure scale and salaries for teachers.

The current system pays teachers based on their years of experience. The fiscal year 2022-2023 NC Public School Continuation Salary Schedules outlines the pay schedule and compensation based on education level and years of experience.

The State Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt says she is aware of concerns from educators but clarifies this is not a merit-based payment scale but rather a compensation based on impact and effectiveness.

“If we define merit pay as varying pay for employees as compared to another employee, this is not that,” Truitt said. “This is paying teachers for impact in their classroom in addition to years of experience so rather than solely looking at years of experience it gives teachers an opportunity to earn more money sooner in their career by showing impact in their classroom.”

Truitt says the compensation for impact would go toward extra responsibilities such as chairing a committee, mentoring another teacher, providing professional development at the district level, or they are serving as an instructional coach.

Justin Parmenter has been teaching for the last 20 years and has been following the proposal for months. He agrees teachers should be paid for the extra work they’re doing and have already been doing but says this could create greater problems when it comes to measuring this in each district.

“Under this new system, we would no longer be paying teachers for a long-term commitment or based on their years of experience in the state. We would be paying them based on whether or not we think they are good teachers,” Parmenter said.

Parmenter also disagrees with Truitt’s denial that this would be a merit pay system.

“I want to be really clear about this, the reason the State Superintendent doesn’t like the term merit pay isn’t that it’s inaccurate; it’s because teacher finds the idea of being paid this way completely unfair; it’s a messaging tactic, it has nothing to do with the reality.”

The current presentation from the September 8 meeting includes the proposed licenses and base pay:

• Apprentice Teacher : $30,000

• License I: $38,000

• License II: $40,000

• License III: $45,000

• License IV: $56,000

• Advanced Teacher Classroom Excellence: $61,000

• Advanced Teacher Adult Leadership: $66,000

The proposal includes plans to incorporate the Education Value-Added Assessment System, student surveys, and pedagogy assessments to determine growth based on performance on EOG and EOC exams.

Truitt also added that this program would create valuable mentorship connections for beginning teachers.

“It provides an opportunity for new teachers to have mentoring from a veteran teacher and that’s something a lot of beginning teachers would say is missing from their early years as teachers,” she said.

Parmenter agrees more should be done to attract and retain current educators but believes this proposal if passed, would be divisive and limit the support going to underrepresented communities and Title I schools.

“Right now I think we have cultures in our schools where teachers collaborate with each other, they share best practices, things that have worked really well for their students,” he said. “I think this would really harm the collaborative culture in our schools and make people work in silos much more.”

PEPSC will be meeting this Thursday to discuss the current proposal, which will eventually be presented to the North Carolina General Assembly.

“The whole viability of this whole proposal rests on do we have a fair and accurate way of measuring which teachers are doing the best work, if we can’t figure that out now, we’re not going to trust NCDPI to figure it out later,” Parmenter said.

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