If you are a teacher in NC’s public schools with more than five years experience teaching our students, you should have been incredibly offended by the words offered yesterday by State Superintendent Catherine Truitt on the new teacher licensure and pay proposal.

First of all, the title already tells you that Truitt’c claim that the new plan is not based on merit pay actually is a plan based on … wait… merit pay. When SAS (the creator of EVAAS) is part of the equation in the only state that measures achievement well over growth in school performance grades, paying teachers based on performance is nothing more than merit pay.

Call it “differentiated pay,” “performance pay,” “bonus pay,” or “outcome-based pay” it still is nothing more than “merit pay.”

But the contents of the report overshadow the hypocrisy of the title. Consider this part near the beginning of Hui’s article:

“Willing to take on additional duties?” Where is the time? And tell me a teacher who has been through the last few years with a pandemic going on that already did not have those extra duties in a state that has a legal decision (LEANDRO) stating that NC has not been funding public education adequately for decades. Class size caps have been removed for years and salaries still lag behind national averages by great lengths.

And that “encourage enough teachers to enter or stay in the profession” bit? Just this past March, Truitt said something that totally seems contradictory when she wrote that “attrition rates” in our teaching force have been relatively stable.

From that EdNC.org perspective:

“The results: remarkable stability. Overall, North Carolina teacher attrition increased from 7.5% to 8.2%. Of the 94,328 teachers employed by the state, 624 more left the teaching profession than the year before. In fact, dissatisfaction within the teaching profession fell 35% from the prior year, with 137 teachers in the 2019-20 year versus 89 in 2020-21.”

So in the last four to five months, teacher dissatisfaction just ballooned? Could be how they feel about DPI’s leadership or the new teacher pay plan?

Back to the N&O article.

“Enrollment in our colleges of education has fallen over the last few years?” Wow! They just noticed? Maybe look at reversing these actions first because that’s what has led to that “fall.”

Here’s another blurb:

Experience is not a priority for them?” Maybe ask that of parents with students in public schools. But wait, part of the very plan of the people Truitt really serves is to get rid of as many veteran teachers as possible. Saves money. Keeps people from advocating loudly. Less retirement money to be spent. Creates need for “school choice.”

All those “good” things.

But here is the part that might be the most egregious:

Legacy thinking?” “The past?” That’s odd coming from someone who literally is part of that legacy and a spokesperson /advisor for the people who so crafted the past that made this “present” so unstable for the profession that we have to move “toward solutions to address the future.”

In 2016, then McCrory education advisor Catherine Truitt penned this perspective in EdNC.org.

In that op-ed, Truitt said the following”

“The truth is, total K-12 funding has increased each year of Gov. McCrory’s administration and North Carolina now spends 57 percent of its state budget on education, far higher than the national state average of 46 percent.”

What she didn’t say in that perspective was that NC’s constitution stipulates that the state mainly finances public education. Actually that percentage has been even higher prior to Truitt’s time in office. Since most of the state funding goes to salaries of certified and classified employees, the fact the percentage of funds from the state is not higher than it was in years past is indicative of the stagnated salaries NC gives to teachers and assistants. With the elimination of funds for professional development and the cutting numbers of teaching assistants, how could she brag about the level of money spent on public schooling?

“Teacher salary raises enacted in 2014 reversed the pay freezes that were enacted under Gov. Beverly Perdue shortly after she took office in 2009. In fact, the 7 percent increase in average teacher salary between the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years was the largest teacher pay raise in the entire nation.”

First, Perdue had to navigate through the Great Recession. Second, she used that word “average.” Beginning teachers saw an average pay hike of over ten percent, yet the more years a teacher had, the less of a “raise” was given. The result was an AVERAGE hike of 6.9 percent, but it was not an even distribution. In fact, some veterans saw a reduction in annual pay because much of the “raise” was funded with what used to be longevity pay.

If the pay got to be so great under Truitt’s former boss, then why is it even more of an issue now?

“The budget he signed provides funds to reduce class size in first grade to one teacher per 16 students by 2016-17. He also signed legislation that will dramatically increase access to summer reading camps to ensure every student achieves the needed literacy by third grade.”

Does she really want to talk about class size now?

“In 2014, the governor increased choice for low income parents by enacting the Opportunity Scholarship that provides financial assistance for alternative schooling for students who are not succeeding in a traditional school setting.”

If she thought that it was necessary for funds to be given to people to get them a good education, then why not have invested that very money in the very public schools she was constitutionally supposed to support to help those very students succeed in their public schools?

And look at how much more we as a state are giving to that unregulated voucher system.

What a legacy, Supt. Truitt.

What an effing legacy.

           





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Clarence Choe