There is no doubt that the new merit pay-based teacher licensure and pay proposal is not beneficial to the teaching profession and the state of North Carolina.

When the Department of Public Instruction has to hire a public relations firm whose past includes marketing controversial menthol-infused cigarettes to a certain demographic for a profit to sell that proposal to teachers and legislators, then you know something deceptive is in the works.

What we know about this new licensure/pay proposal was never meant to be publicized. Through the work of teacher advocates like Justin Parmenter and his Notes From The Chalkboard blog, we are being shown the true nature of DPI’s plan to further damage a teacher pipeline to achieve an endgame of turning the teaching profession into prorated work for curriculum deliverers under contracted work.

What is more disheartening is that part of the DPI team who is trying to “sell” this proposal to teachers are former teachers who seem in a short time to have pledged loyalty to a privatizer like State Supt. Catherine Truitt and forgotten what has been happening in classrooms for the last few years.

Specifically, former Teachers of the Year for regions and even the state.

This past April, former state TOY Maureen Stover published an article in EdNC.org entitled “Together we can develop a new licensure system that empowers our teachers.

Within it she stated,

“When I was first introduced to the Pathways to Excellence Licensure model, I was excited because I felt that it was designed for a teacher like me — someone who wants leadership opportunities without going into administration. As I continued to learn more about the model, I realized the incredible potential and positive impact it could have on every teacher from pre-service through veteran in North Carolina.”

It reads like a statement prepared by an entity that was paid for by public tax dollars with all the glittering buzzwords within the arsenal of a public relations firm.

If this proposal was so great then we should be hearing so much more teacher approval swirling in the profession. We should be hearing more teachers touting its benefits. We should hear teachers excited about it. We should be hearing from all of those people in the classrooms who had input.

What we have is a surreptitiously constructed ad campaign put together by a bunch of people who have no idea what teaching through this pandemic was like while non-educators in Raleigh continuously pick and choose their opportunities to either praise or belittle teachers to fit a narrative.

And months after Justin Parmenter began uncovering what was actually happening, these former TOYs are trying to keep plugging a narrative that this proposal is best for NC, a state that has over 25% more vacancies at the start of this school year than last year.

From a Facebook posting this past week:

When someone tells me that he/she wants to share an “authentic and truthful” story, I am preparing for a story about spiritual conversion or a pyramid selling scheme.

Teachers, especially veteran teachers, do not need to be told an “authentic and truthful” story about how someone no longer in the classroom became a teacher. THEY ALREADY HAVE AUTHENTIC AND TRUTHFUL STORIES!

In fact, those teachers who felt compelled for various reasons to pursue other careers for reasons of low pay and disrespect have authentic and truthful stories.

To “sell” a disingenuous plan that will in no way address the reasons that teachers are leaving the profession in a state like NC sounds like a prepared tactic from someone who has drunk too much of the Kool-Aid being served in DPI.

In her op-ed, Stover never mentioned restoration of graduate degree pay, longevity pay, or even due-process rights. She was a teacher when those things were taken away. She knows damn well what those measures did to the teaching profession in North Carolina.

She should also know that over 1 in 5 teachers in NC have national certification and teachers have already been taking on multiple duties to make our schools work despite underfunding. She should also know that there is a court decision called LEANDRO that states that NC has underfunded its public school system for decades.

Now that’s authentic and truthful.



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Clarence Choe