The final report issued by a state task force charged with tackling issues related teacher pay is drawing criticism for lacking specificity and failing to produce any tangible solutions.
In the last meeting Monday of the Educator Effectiveness and Compensation Task Force, state leaders outlined observations and recommendations for improving the current condition of teachers’ pay in North Carolina.
The most assertive action the report recommended was setting a “short-term goal” of increasing salaries for teachers with less than 10 years of experience—i.e. beginning teachers and those who are most inclined to leave the profession in North Carolina.
Governor Pat McCrory already announced in February that it was his intention to increase starting teachers’ salaries.
As “a long-term goal,” the report suggested that the General Assembly institute a pay raise for teachers across the board. State House 50 Representative Graig Meyer, who was in attendance Monday, said he was disappointed that a timeline was not set for achieving either of those objectives.
“There is no reason why we need to wait two or three more years to go ahead and give pay raises to all teachers in the state,” Meyer said.
As far as developing parameters for a new teacher salary compensation model, Meyer, who also serves as the Director of Student Equity and Volunteer Services for Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, said he thought the report was deficient and unclear.
Lawmakers are considering alternative teacher pay models that could be coupled with strong student performance in the classroom. The state’s current salary schedule bases teacher’s salary increases on their years of experience.
“They had multiple presenters talk to us about different incentive pay plans. The one thing that was clear was that there was no evidence that any of those plans are very good at identifying who are the best teachers, nor what is the best way to compensate those teachers,” Meyer said. “They are trying to create something for which we have no good model. It doesn’t mean that a good model couldn’t exist, but I don’t see any reason we should push ahead with something that is going to fail.”
In its final recommendation, the document called for the State Board of Education to examine the teacher compensation systems and report back to lawmakers later this year.
“They are kicking the can down the road and are shifting the responsibility over to the state Board of Education, and it is too bad that they are not making the decisions that they need to in order to give teachers a raise,” he said.
Meyer added that he and others who attended the task force meetings felt that the input of education professionals had been left out.
“I was disappointed that this was a task force where educators were actually invited to the table with the General Assembly, but at the end, when the report came out, the educators made it clear that their voices hadn’t been heard. The things that they recommended, the things that they wanted to see in the plan.”
North Carolina’s teachers are among the lowest-paid in the country, ranking 46th, and make less than instructors in each of the surrounding states.