WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - A new state law some teachers say forces them to compete for bonus pay was challenged Thursday at the Legislative Forum on the State of Education at UNCW.
The panelists included state representatives Susi Hamilton and Ted Davis, State Senator Thom Goolsby, and Bob Etheridge, a former U.S. Representative for North Carolina's 2nd congressional district.
Under the new law, district leaders evaluate teachers in their system and pick the top 25% performers. Those selected will be offered four-year contracts with built in annual raises worth $5,000.
Teachers at Murray Middle School don't like that plan.
"They want us to sign off tenure, basically," says Carey Cunningham, a teacher at Murray Middle School.
Cunningham and several other teachers, dressed in pink tye-dye tee shirts, presented the legislators with a petition signed by the entire staff at Murray Middle School asking to be exempt.
Cunningham says the plan puts principals and teachers in a bad position.
"We didn't want our principal to have to make that decision," Cunningham said. "We just felt it would tear the school apart being that competitive within the school so we got 100% of the faculty to sign the petition in order to opt out."
Representative Ted Davis took the petition and said he would take it to Raleigh.
Teacher tenure for all North Carolina instructors will be phased out by 2018, replaced with one to four year contracts.
The forum was presented by the Office of Teacher Education and Outreach at the Watson College of Education.
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