Before North Carolina teachers start a letter-writing campaign to thank Republican leaders of the General Assembly for expanding bonus programs — well, don’t. Having spent years bashing public education and creating a voucher system using public money for private schools and expanding an under-supervised charter school program, GOP leaders now are taking a bow for expanding a bonus program for teachers at the behest of local school administrators.
It seems their original program, wherein teachers whose students make progress in third grade basics and those whose students successfully finish AP and IB exams got “performance-based” bonuses missed some people. While it may be commendable that the Senate leadership is trying to get the bonuses to teachers who clearly earned them, the program itself is wrong-headed.
It follows the Republican rhetoric about making teachers “accountable” and “raising standards” and the use of other catch phrases that are demeaning to the professional educators in North Carolina’s schools.
The bonus system is a bad, insulting system. Teachers deserve respect and support from legislators, not criticism and bonuses keyed to some kind of made-up achievement obstacle course.
Pay teachers what they deserve. Support them at the state and local levels. Hold them accountable. Treat them with dignity. It is not that difficult.