School board approves criteria for teacher raises

By Shelby Harrell Staff Writer | Mar 10, 2014

Haywood County School administrators have figured out a process to award pay raises of $500 to only the top 25 percent of its proficient teachers, an action they say will "pit teacher against teacher."

It is a process they deem as unfair to many, but is one they have been forced to implement because of  a decision by the N.C. General Assembly.

During a lengthy work session in February, each of the board members voiced their opposition to the new education law. It is one that eliminates tenure and implements a provision allowing the system to offer four-year teaching contracts that include annual $500 raises to 25 percent of teachers who have worked three consecutive years in the same school district and have earned a "proficient" job rating.

Other teachers who have earned tenure will be able to retain their tenure status (meaning they’re promised a job as long as they follow the law and meet performance standards), but won't receive a pay raise.

There are 408 tenured teachers who can be considered for the pay increase, but only 102 of those teachers will be selected, said Bill Nolte, associate superintendent. There is a total of 661 teachers in the Haywood County Public School system.

“It’s a shame because we outperform 85 percent of school districts in the state, so more than 25 percent of our teachers have got to be pretty good,” Nolte said. “One hundred percent no, but more than 25. There’s going to be people who fall in at the 30th percentile who are really, really good, and they won’t be offered that opportunity.”

Top teachers are going to be evaluated on two standards from the rubric used to evaluate North Carolina teachers — their demonstration of leadership and the way they facilitate learning in their classrooms.

To determine the top teachers, the school board approved a contract last month that explained how administrators would choose the teachers when so many would be qualified.

According to the contract, in the event of a tie, teachers will be evaluated by a separate list of criteria that was recommended by an appointed committee, made up of school board member Lynn Milner and various teachers, administrators and principals.

The committee recommended that each eligible teacher be awarded extra points for each of the following: the total number of licensure areas; national board certification; having a master’s or advanced degrees; being named district teacher of the year; and results from last year’s evaluations.

“And then if we still have a tie, we’ll repeat that same process on the year before last year’s (2012) evaluation — just for the people in the tiebreaker group,” Nolte said.

In attempt not to worry the teachers, Nolte said the list of teachers who may be eligible for a pay raise will not be generated until May.

Comments (5)
Posted by: Scott Lilly | Mar 10, 2014 08:04

"eliminates tenure" -- Is this a good thing or a bad thing?  As I understand it, tenure was created so that those in the teaching profession for a long time has the ability to use their own time-tested methods and nuances in the subjects of educating -- no matter what any newer, younger administration might say.

 

But using the "common core" as an example, teachers (tenured or not) do not have the ability to deviate from the common core.  Therefore, isn't the  concept of "tenure" now obsolete?

 

Performance will be measured on "demonstration of leadership and the way they facilitate learning in their classrooms" -- Likely two meaningful ways to measure performance and desired results.  Teachers who have or learn to provide MORE leadership and learning should be rewarded for that desired result.

 

"extra points for each of the following: the total number of licensure areas; national board certification; having a master’s or advanced degrees; being named district teacher of the year; and results from last year’s evaluations." -- What?  I'm not sure these are effective measures of how good a teacher is.  This all seems "political" to me -- not so much how effective a teacher is in having children learn.  I mean if a teacher earned a masters degree and has no ability or talent to use in the classroom what was learned in getting that degree, how should that be used in determining if a teacher is good or not?



Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Mar 11, 2014 11:25

                Does only rewarding 25% meet the constitutional requirements of "equal protection"?

                C.Z.



Posted by: Scott Lilly | Mar 11, 2014 11:56

Mr. Zimmerman, yes.



Posted by: Allen Alsbrooks | Mar 11, 2014 15:30

I would only say 25% meets the mandate if the awards are based on performance reviews where "over performers" are recognized and "under performers" are not.



Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Mar 12, 2014 10:16

                   By limiting the number of teachers being awarded they are violating the most important requirement of good and limited government. Equal protection. Instead a pool of money should be divided by means of job approval whereby all are by their own records elligible. Assign points to whatever criteria deemed appropriate. Divide money by points. Reward by points assessed. But to just arbitrarily award a set amount to the top 25% is to deny the bottom 75%.

                 C.Z.



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