Some ‘grandfathering’ on teacher supplements is least legislature can do

| September 6, 2013 | 1 Comment

EconomyEditorial by Winston-Salem Journal, September 3, 2013.

There is a move afoot among Republican legislators to add some fairness to a bad decision made this year.

North Carolina has long offered public-school teachers a 10-percent supplement for a master’s degree. This year, as part of a Republican shift of compensation supplements away from credentials and longevity and toward classroom effectiveness, legislators end-ed the supplement for teachers who were not already receiving it.

In a perfect world, that would be a great idea: Pay the most effective teachers more, re-gardless of age, tenure and academic credentials. But there is a problem with that strate-gy. It is no simple matter to determine who is the most effective teacher, given that so many outside-the-classroom factors play a part in whether a student does well in any par-ticular year.

And, as American education leaders have struggled to improve public schools over the last 30 years, various accountability strategies have come and gone, ballyhooed at incep-tion and discredited over time. We may have gut feelings about the best teachers, but it is hard to prove.

We do know that the more teachers know about their craft and subject matter, the more likely they are to get the most out of their individual level of talent. Graduate education helps in that regard.

Nonetheless, the legislature has acted and it isn’t likely to reverse course any time soon. The Charlotte Observer has reported, however, that two Republican Mecklenburg County representatives think it was unfair of the state to block the 10-percent supplements for current teachers who are pursuing master’s degrees.

Reps. Bill Brawley and Ruth Samuelson are working on a plan to have the legislature grandfather in teachers who were pursuing a master’s when the current budget was passed. They hope to do so during the 2014 session.

The teachers in master’s programs took on the expense of graduate study to improve their skills and with the legitimate expectations that the pay supplement would compensate them for their investment.

This is only fair, and the legislature should make this change in May.

Category: NC SPIN Perspectives - Opinions from NC Leaders & Organizations

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  1. Richard Bunce says:

    Basing teacher pay on bogus government education industrial complex degrees is just one of many things wrong with the government education system.

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