School board goes red

Board supports NCAE in battle against teacher contracts
By Shelby Harrell Staff Writer | Mar 12, 2014
Photo by: Shelby Harrell Dozens of Haywood County teachers attended the Haywood County Board of Education meeting on Monday while wearing red to support the North Carolina Association of Educators. The NCAE is currently opposing the law against the elimination of teacher tenure.

The Haywood County Education Center in Clyde was filled with the color red Monday evening when dozens of local teachers and administrators wore red to the board meeting as a way to show support of the North Carolina Association of Educators.

The NCAE is currently rounding up support throughout the state to oppose the new teacher contracts, a provision of a new education law passed by the N.C. General Assembly that has been deemed  “demoralizing” to teachers.

“As a former teacher and principal, I commend all of you for coming and taking a stand,” board member Lynn Milner told the meeting attendants. “I appreciate you, and it’s an insult what the legislature is doing.”

The new education law eliminates teacher tenure and only offers 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.

The Haywood County School Board was unanimous in its decision to support the NCAE, and signed a resolution opposing the faculty contracts.

The resolution requests that the General Assembly rescind all provisions of the law that eliminate career status for those teachers who have been awarded career status, and to restore career status to those teachers who have a vested right to career status.

“... This school system has far more than 25 percent of its teachers that deserve a merit-based pay raise given the excellent services they provide to our students; and therefore, the 25 percent mandate process is divisive, inequitable and demeaning to our teachers,” the resolution states.

The school board takes no official position toward eliminating career status for teachers who have yet to obtain it, but according to the signed resolution, the board believes that removing career status from teachers who have already earned it violates their rights, and is therefore considered unconstitutional.

Litigation is currently pending against the law, which prohibited local boards of education from conferring career status, or tenure, for any additional teachers on Aug. 1, 2013. The law will completely eliminate career status by 2018.

The resolution also questions the legality of divesting teachers of their career status, and states that the 25 percent mandate fails as a merit-based pay initiative because teachers had no prior notice of the criteria necessary to earn additional compensation.

The resolution also states the 25 percent mandate could threaten and disrupt the collaborative friendly and stable teaching and learning environments that have been proven to be critical to higher levels of student performance.

Board member Bob Morris, who is also a parent of Haywood County students, said paying only 25 percent of Haywood teachers was nowhere near enough.

“If I had to choose the top 25 percent, every single one of my kids teachers would be one of them,” Morris said. “Politics is politics, but we’ve got something good. When you’ve got good teachers, take care of them."

Board member Jimmy Rogers said he was grateful to see so much teacher support of the NCAE.

“As you can see this board wants to support you as well for the great job you’re doing in our schools,” Rogers said. “I agree with Mr. Morris — 25 percent is not good enough for me either.”

Comments (12)
Posted by: Scott Lilly | Mar 12, 2014 10:03

It sounds to me that there are political entities telling teachers they should feel "demoralized" and "insulted".  Sure, teachers can feel that way if they choose.  As could any professional given the circumstances.


Here's an alternative.  Get up every morning and make a commitment to yourself to be in that top 25%.  Think of ways to provide educational leadership and facilitate learning.  Do that well, and you earn that top 25% designation and have something to be proud of.


I earn a descent paycheck and I know anyone who wants to work harder and smarter than I can take my job from me.  If I do accomplish something worthy of a "bonus" or "raise", it's usually something I did with intention and required effort or sacrifice.  (Like having to travel months at a time away from where I really want to be!)


I wonder if this kind of change is also embraced by private and charter schools.  If vouchers are given to students and more teachers are in demand at charter/private schools, will more teachers then have a choice to be employed at other schools that might not have the same pay policies?


Could these changes have anything to do with teacher supply/demand?  Are there just too many teachers where the public can afford paying less and still have an ample supply of qualified teachers?


There is lots to consider here before picking a side.


Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Mar 12, 2014 10:43

                This 25% rule only applies to public schools, as I understand it.

                 By recent legislation, charter/private schools have very little oversight with no requirement for teacher verification of abilities as to education in specific fields with any teacher having a B.S. degree able toteach anything whatsoever. And worse. As I read it teachers are not required to even have a teaching license/education as in home schoolers.

                    There are many reasons for this:

            1. Dismantleing public schools

            2. Teaching Creationism.

            3.  Having bible study.

            4. Avoiding the Founding Principles.

            5. Etc, Etc.

            As it stands, nonpublic schools are allowed to discriminate as to any means they seem fit. Using OUR taxes.

           As has been reported, there have been more than just a few cases whereby "charter/private" schools owners have taken public moneys and then not provided a service of any worth. More than a few have alreddy shut down leaving kids in the lurch.

           Imagine what it will be like when charter/private/home schooled kids try and get into a reputable sanctioned college.

           A first cousin tried to home school years ago. She used the bible. Church provided crap. Feds paid her a visit to ensure she was following required guidlines. She was not and refused to. DSS visited next. She almost lost her kids and her house.

           What too many fail to realize is that kids have rights guaranteed by OUR Federal Constitution that OUR Federal government must enforce. Obtaining a proper education is one. While We trust the state/locals to do a proper job, it must be verified.



Posted by: Scott Lilly | Mar 12, 2014 11:02

Mr. Zimmerman: I sent one of my children through the public school system where she earned a full-ride scholarship from UNC Chapel Hill.  My next daughter is homeschooled.  On her last State-proctored standardized test, she tested 2 grade levels above her peers.  That's 2 grade levels above where she tested while she was in public school.  My children are just that: mine.  I have the right to teach them as I wish.  According to the State of NC, my wife does a fine job teaching them.  An interesting epiphany we had after homeschooling: children learn for free.  It's everything else that costs money.


Homeschooling is a job.  You can't do it in your spare time.  This more-or-less describes how/why we homeschool (and many others like me):


Posted by: Beth G. Johnson | Mar 12, 2014 13:37

Congratulations to the Haywood County School Board for taking a stand that supports public school teachers.  If a 'bonus' system is set up the criteria should be established First.

Posted by: Scott Lilly | Mar 12, 2014 13:58

Ms. Johnson, yes it would make more sense to define the "bonus program" and then let any percentage of folks strive to hit that high mark.  And then the budgetary impacts would be variable -- depending on how many hit the mark.  I'm thinking this is how top-down budget-driven ideas manifest themselves.  I'm not sure this is the best way to approach the issue -- but it can be a step in the right direction.  When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!  I hope people of all persuasions can agree that teachers who perform well measured by how well their students learn should be rewarded generously with cash, recognition, and gratitude.

Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Mar 14, 2014 08:32

             Mr. Lilly;


             Your offspring are citizens of the United States of America, first, foremost, always. They are born with inalienable rights they inherited from you. We the people insist that all kids less than the age of consent(whereby they are considered old enough to be self-reliant by the means of their own conscience)be educated to meet certain standards. If you can do that on your own that is fine. BUT! Many homeschoolers like my first cousin just open a bible and let their kids learn on their own. Many home-schoolers refuse to teach proper evolution based science/biology class. This is not acceptable and no accredited college will admit a student not taught to such standards, let alone the cost to Society of ill-prepared youth.



Posted by: Scott Lilly | Mar 14, 2014 09:05

Mr. Zimmerman, I strongly disagree that my offspring are first US citizens.  I can move to any country or some unclaimed island or otherwise renounce my citizenship and my children are still that: 100% mine.


There is "homeschooling" and "unschooling".  It sounds like your cousin might have been involved with some kind of "unschooling" with a Biblical slant.  I've seen a 60-minutes documentary on that kind of program.  I've only met one family who did that and although I was surprised at how intelligent the child seemed, I don't think that would fit my family.  It's nice to have the freedom to choose that myself.


Back to the point, my wife and I have no formal education or certification on schooling children.  My daughter gets 95% of her education from us.  She's testing 2 grade levels above her peers and 2 grade levels above where she was when we outsourced her education to the public schools.  I attribute that to us being very motivated to educate her properly above all else and a 1:1 teacher/student ratio!  A lack of budget, a lack of tenure, and a lack of school politics does not impact my daughter's ability to learn.  As the article correctly points out, those things can impact a teacher's motivations to want to teach.  I just hope as much as the NCAE focuses on why teachers should be "demoralized", they also spend as much time finding ways to make lemonade from lemons.

Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Mar 14, 2014 09:23

              Mr. Lilly;


              Whether you like it or not, your kids by means of the US Constitution, are as George Washington pointed out "citizens by birth". After birth, they are no longer property owned by your wife/spouse. The "Social Contract" begins when the birth certificate is signed, whereby, you may not abuse your kids, whether physically or mentally, without having We the people enforce the "Social Contract'. Taking the responsability of "home-schooling" does not remove the responsability of a proper state-sanctioned education, nor your responsability to support your local school system, again wheter you like it or not.



Posted by: Scott Lilly | Mar 14, 2014 10:23

I have the freedom and the ability to renounce my children's US citizenship today if I choose to move away from the United States.  In fact, if I claim to be a citizen of another nation, the US will renounce my citizenship for me.  (So says page 7 of my US Passport)  I have the liberty to do so.  North Korean's do not have this liberty.  And there once was a wall that split Germany that iconized that distinction.


It is impossible for me to ever renounce the fact that I fathered my children.  Citizenship is a matter of politics.  Parenthood is a fact of life.  It's a shame that so many have children and think the State has the responsibility to raise them and look after them.  It's odd to me that so many outsource the educating of children to State employees.  (This has been an interesting/enlightening viewpoint that I've had only after homeschooling.)


Germany has a law that prevents parents from taking their children out of public schools.  In fact a family applied for and was granted political asylum in the US because they wanted the freedom to teach their children.  Kind of reminds me of how the pilgrims came to the New World. 


When Rome fell, whose responsibility were the children of Rome?  When Russia takes over Crimea, are the children "owned" by whomever has the biggest army?  If a child belongs to parents of two nations, what kind of man-made logic exists to figure out who owns their children?


Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Mar 18, 2014 09:15

                   No one may "renounce" any US born citizenship of someone else.

                   Nor can any child renounce their citizenship before they reach the age of consent whereby it is considered they can, by the use of their own Conscience, achieve self-determination.

                    "Citizen by birth..." George Washington.



Posted by: Scott Lilly | Mar 18, 2014 09:28

"parents cannot renounce US citizenship on behalf of their children." -- Wow.  I stand corrected.  That is amazing to me.  Nevertheless, my children are mine and mine alone and required to go wherever I go in the world if I so choose until age 18 -- at which time the US I guess can give them protection as a US adult.

Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Mar 18, 2014 10:59

               Actually, you must ask permission from US to take one of OUR citizens out of the country for an extended stay and you may not "require" them to do so against their will or best interests if someone claiming to represent them presents a proper case against it. Regardless, International Law as established by the UN. Universal Declaration of Human Rights which mirrors US law still applies.

               Age of consent varies by state. Usually 16. This presents a conumdrum for public schools whereby any student may quit school at age of consent. The girl that should have been my valedictorium(sp) was forcibly removed at 16. Her parents were Amish of a strict order.



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