Under the Dome

Dome: State education board member wants teacher pay hike

October 6, 2013 

State Board of Education member John Tate wants the board to back a resolution to bring teacher pay in the state to the national average.

Tate sprung his proposal on the board last week, calling teacher pay “flat pathetic.” Teachers and state employees have received one 1.2percent raise in the past five years.

After years of concerted efforts to raise teacher pay to the national average, North Carolina was ranked 25th in 2008 by the National Education Association. The state has slipped since then and is close to the bottom of national rankings.

“I feel like we have to send a message to our teachers as soon as possible,” Tate said.

State Board of Education Chairman Bill Cobey said he and other board members want teachers to make more, but he ruled consideration of the resolution out of order. Board members said they needed more background information and that the resolution should have been on the agenda. Cobey said the resolution could hold for a month.

The budget for next year does not include across-the-board raises for teachers or state employees. Legislators are moving to a system of performance pay for teachers. The budget offers $500 to top teachers who give up their tenure and sign employment contracts.

Quick leaves for New Schools

Angela Quick is leaving her job as deputy chief academic officer at the state Department of Public Instruction to become a vice president at N.C. New Schools.

Quick has been with DPI since 2008 and has spent untold hours talking about school accountability, testing and curriculum development at State Board of Education meetings.

State Superintendent June Atkinson said Quick “has been extraordinary in her service” and is “respected among her colleagues throughout North Carolina.”

Clergy rare in U.S. Senate

If Charlotte pastor Mark Harris is elected to the U.S. Senate next year, he will be a rare example of a member of the clergy be elected to the nation’s upper chamber, according to the Smart Politics blog.

Since the direct election of senators began 100 years ago, only three members of the clergy have been elected. They were Ohio Republican John Bricker (U.S. Army chaplain, elected 1946 and 1952), Missouri Republican John Danforth (Episcopal priest, 1976, 1982, 1988) and Arkansas Republican Tim Hutchinson (Southern Baptist pastor, 1996). Arkansas Democrat Kaneaster Hodges (Methodist, 1977) was appointed to the Senate.

Unlike Bricker, Danforth, and Hutchinson, Harris is launching a Senate bid without having previously held a political office, according to Smart Politics.

From 1789 until the turn of the 19th century when senators were elected by state legislatures, 16 clergymen were appointed or elected to the Senate representing a variety of denominations such as Baptist, Congregational, Roman Catholic, First Church of Christ, Unitarian Universalist, Presbyterian, Methodist and African Methodist Episcopal.

Smart Politics is a nonpartisan political news site authored by Eric Ostermeir, a professor at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

Harris on Wednesday announced he was entering the GOP primary for the right to face Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan. He is pastor of First Baptist Church in Charlotte and president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.

Shutdown stops fundraiser

Chalk up another casualty of the federal government shutdown, reports The Charlotte Observer’s Jim Morrill. And this one will cost the North Carolina Republican Party.

The state party had scheduled a Wednesday fundraiser at The Capitol Hill Club, with guests paying up to $2,500. The event was to be headlined by GOP Sen. Richard Burr, the state’s nine Republican House members and Gov. Pat McCrory.

Republican national Chairman Reince Priebus was expected to put in an appearance. But Friday, with the shutdown in its fourth day and no end in sight, GOP leaders decided to postpone the event.

“In light of the government shutdown, the North Carolina Republican Party thought it would be best to put our Washington, D.C., fundraiser on hold,” said Todd Poole, the party’s executive director. “In the meantime we hope our Democrat friends on Capitol Hill will come to their senses and join Republicans at the negotiating table and end the shutdown.”

One member of the state delegation, by the way, is getting credit, or blame, for initiating the shutdown.

Freshman GOP Rep. Mark Meadows of Jackson County got 79 members to sign a letter in August urging their colleagues to tie continued government funding to dismantling the health care law. He’s gotten attention in the national media. CNN called him “the architect of the brink.”

Staff writers Lynn Bonner and Rob Christensen. Send tips to dome@newsobserver.com.

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service