Educators speak out against proposed changes to teacher pay & licensure

Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 7:32 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - It is well documented how schools nationwide and in North Carolina are struggling to find and keep teachers. Now, some say a new proposal could add another challenge to that.

WITN talked to educators about some potential changes to teacher pay and licensing that would shift focus from experience to performance.

“I’d hate to be judged by a student who doesn’t like me for whatever reason or vice versa,” Pitt County Association of Educators President Mario Blanchard said.

However, that kind of preference could become more of a focus based on a proposal from the Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission. Educators gathered Tuesday morning to speak out against the idea.

“When I look around me, people are leaving left and right. My friends and family continue to ask me if this is a sustainable field for me to work in,” Wake County teacher Kiana Espinoza said. “The most talented and knowledgeable teachers that I know are looking at this plan and wondering if they’ll stay if it goes into effect.”

The North Carolina Association of Educators said PEPSC’s proposal would steer focus away from experience-based pay.

Blanchard feels that experience should stay at the forefront.

“I do think that the longer that you have stayed in the profession, I think the more experience and the more variety of students that you come across, that broadens your reach and effectiveness,” Blanchard said.

The proposal will be presented to the State Board of Education later this month. It could mean a greater emphasis on standardized tests, principal and peer evaluations, and student surveys to determine teacher pay and licensing.

“I do think the system that we have now is pretty good. It could be better, of course, anything could be better. I think just with what’s been proposed, there’s a few questions that need to be asked before teachers get on board with it,” Blanchard said.

WITN reached out to members of PEPSC. They didn’t have anyone immediately available for comment.

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