NC Senate Republicans propose new teacher compensation policy - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

My Turn: NC Senate Republicans propose new teacher compensation policy

North Carolina Senate Republicans are proposing some ideas concerning education that will surely generate some debate.  They want to eliminate tenure for veteran public school teachers and they are also proposing moving to a more performance-based pay system.  And I support both of these measures. 

Right now, after a four-year probation period, poorly performing teachers can become almost impossible to remove from the system.  They can be ineffective as teachers and still remain on the job helping turn out students who just aren't making the grade.

I know there is no perfect pay system, but these proposals make a lot more sense than what has historically been in place.  The more they move teacher compensation policies toward how it is done in the business world, the better off we'll be. 

I'm sure you've heard of, or even worked with, people who have retired on the job.  These proposals will help eliminate that.  And if these initiatives come to fruition, I'll give our legislators an A in my grade book for this bold move.

That's my turn.  Now it's your turn.  To comment on this segment, or anything else, email me at


Emailed comments from viewers:

I am totally blown away with this bill - Senate Bill 795

I am a Republican and cannot believe what the Republicans are doing these days.

We voted out the democrats and for What? We thought things would be better. Now what do we do as voters?

Teacher Tenure -- How absurd to do away with this. Do you know how often superintendents and principles change in each school, not counting the school boards. The job is political enough without adding this crazy performance without tenure policy. What time teachers are not dodging bullets from parents it's school leadership. Sometimes it is only tenure keeping jobs safe for GOOD teachers. It only takes 1 or 2 people with a personality conflict to make a good teacher lose a job.

Please put more thought into the damage this will cause the public education system.

Why not think about the biggest problem facing education - More money will not help. Children are not being taught the VALUE of an education at home anymore. Parents are not doing their jobs, it is more important that Johnny not have homework, so he can play another team sport after school. Also, think about the behavior problems with students, again parents not doing their jobs. The breakdown of the family has created education problems, not EDUCATORS!


The issue of eliminating teacher tenure has been around for sometime. Unfortunately the advocates of eliminating teacher tenure see it as a teacher performance issue unfettered by systemic influences. Eliminating teacher tenure is plausible if the following conditions are addressed:

  1. Shool districts must adopt a policy of heterogeneously grouping classes rather than the current system of tracking students which gives the illusion of helping students with academic challenges. Heterogeneously grouped classes will level the playing field for the bonus structure to replace tenure.
  2. School districts must eliminate the current practice of assigning the most challenging classes to the newest teachers. Strategy #1 would also eliminate this practice.
  3. The state should adopt a formula for funding school systems that provides parity between low and high wealth districts so that class sizes can be reduced extensively.

In essence, for teacher tenure to be eliminated the teacher performance issue must be addressed at both the formulation and implementation of policies related to the evaluation of teacher instructional practices.


Doing away with teacher tenure and basing pay on so-called teacher performance may sound good, but in the real world of schools, I can tell you, it's not a good idea.  First, let's look at the reason for tenure.  Tenure protects a teacher who dares to disagree with a principal, teach daring or innovative ideas, happen to be in a position that someone would like to see, say, his or niece have, or dare to experiment with innovative teaching ideas.  Teachers walk a political tightrope among administration, community, parents, and students.  Believe me, when the going gets ruff, for political safety, it is much easier to get rid of a teacher unjustly accused than to stand behind him/her.

Second, lets look at merit pay.  What is a teacher of merit?  Someone who inspires broken children to have hope and keep learning?  Who measures that?  The student after he grows up and comes back to say thank you?  The teacher who wins grants for the school system?  The teacher who works extra hours, tries innovative lessons to make kids want to learn?  The teacher who makes the administration happy by knowing how to teach to standardized tests and have students perform well on them?  Teaching is not industry.  It is not simple.  The government should not be so hands on.  Those, like you, who don't really understand the complexities of public educationne, ed to learn from those who really know--those in the trenches. 


A lot of factors other than just the teacher can affect student performance. How should this be addressed in determining teacher's pay?


Like the Republicans proposing merit pay in lieu of career-status, you also don't understand General Statute 115C-325. There is NO tenure. Career-Status law is due process. If a 4+ year teacher is almost impossible to dismiss as you allege, it's because administrators aren't doing their jobs. GS 115C-325 outlines 15 just causes for career-status teacher termination including negligence of duty and willful insubordination. 

What you erroneously call "tenure" is due process that protects teachers from arbitrary, capricious, personal, political and discriminatory dismissals. That law affords teachers who have been promoted to career-status after 4 years of at-standard, above standard and superior evaluations by administrators in all areas of performance to defend themselves in a hearing before the Board of Education. 

To do away with due process is helpful how? In fact, loss of career-status for administrators resulted in loss of their efficacy. 

As to merit pay, well...been there, done that, and it does not work. It is subjectively determined--personally, discriminatorily, politically, capriciously and arbitrarily determined.  

Contrary to the opinion of the Republican-dominated NC Senate, the business model doesn't fit the education world: the bottom line is educating each child-- NOT making a profit!

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