The Opinion Shop

June 6, 2014

One theory: NC Senate’s teacher pay plan a vehicle to kick teachers out before they retire

The Washington Post’s education blogger, Valerie Strauss, has a post this week about the NC Senate’s plan for increasing teacher salaries that says it “ ‘incentivizes’ teachers at specific experience levels to leave the classroom and find another profession.”

The Washington Post’s education blogger, Valerie Strauss, has a post this week about the N.C. Senate’s plan for increasing teacher salaries that says it “ ‘incentivizes’ teachers at specific experience levels to leave the classroom and find another profession.”

One of the controversies has been that the plan forces teachers to give up tenure to get a raise. Strauss offers a piece by educator James Hogan, who taught high school English for years and runs Teach Kids Productions, that says teachers who think they want to retire as teachers need to think twice about giving up career status for any amount of pay.

Hogan says the proposed Senate salary schedule keeps teacher pay flat through the first four years, increases teacher pay $1,000 for every year of service through a teacher’s 20th year, but then flattens it again. Teachers earn the same $50,000 from years 20-29. “That’s a decade of service without a pay raise,” he says. “In year 30, teachers earn just $42 more. Then, wages rise again, topping out at $56,129 at 36 years of service.”

The plan, he says, “provides a clear disincentive for teachers who seek to retire from teaching by denying them a raise for a decade. Why would the Senate structure salaries like that?”

The answer is this:

“The new, proposed Senate pay scale is built to soothe middle-career teachers. It is designed to work them through 20 years of service and then quietly encourage them to leave teaching by keeping their salaries flat. And if they don’t leave on their own, they have a handy, built-in mechanism to get rid of them – the complete absence of career status. They don’t have to fire the teacher who’s a couple of years away from retirement. They can simply opt to not re-hire her.”

Read the rest here.

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