NCAE: Starting teacher raises unfair

McCrory's plan would raise beginning teachers' salaries by 14 percent
Feb. 15, 2014 @ 03:51 PM

The Vance County representative for the North Carolina Association of Educators said Gov. Pat McCrory’s decision to raise starting teachers’ salaries shortchanges veteran teachers.

“It is just outright unfair,” said Ernest Williams, Vance County NCAE representative. “There should be pay increases across the board, not just for starting teachers.”

McCrory’s plan will increase starting teacher pay by $2,200 this year and by an additional $2,000 the following year. Beginning teachers will receive a salary increase from the current base rate of $30,800 to $35,000, up 14 percent.

If the plan is approved by the state legislature, teacher pay would increase to $33,000 during the 2014-’15 school year and $35,000 the following year.

McCrory also announced plans to extend supplemental pay for teachers with master’s degrees to those who have completed coursework in a graduate program as of July 1, 2013.

“It doesn’t make sense to give raises to a few percent of teachers and not give raises to veteran teachers who we need to the most,” Williams said.

He said the plan will create a disincentive for teachers to remain in the profession.

“I just don’t understand the rationale that keeps teachers working here,” he said.

NCAE President Rodney Ellis also criticized the governor’s plan to raise teacher pay, which has been frozen for five years.

“Citizens all across the state are demanding higher salaries and more respect for our teachers, not just a small percentage of them,” Ellis said. “While this plan rewards newer teachers, it is disrespectful to veteran teachers, sends a clear message that students don’t deserve teachers who are experienced and committed to the teaching profession, and institutionalizes teacher turnover. It is not just higher pay that keeps teachers in our classrooms but a stable environment of highly qualified teacher leaders. Our veteran teachers are the institutional glue that holds our schools together. Without them, so many of our young teachers would not succeed or stay in the classroom, even if they are paid better.”

The state’s annual report on Teachers Leaving the Profession revealed a high teacher turnover rate in the Tri-County.

The Vance County Schools system lost more than 22 percent of its teachers last year, compared to the state’s rate of 14.3 percent, which increased from 12.1 percent.

Warren County had turnover rate of 25.7 percent and Granville County 17.5 percent.

There were 118 of 520 Vance County teachers who left after the 2012-2013 school year.

The data from Vance County Schools shows 62 teachers, or 52.5 percent, remained in education and 20 teachers, or 16.9 percent, left for personal or other reasons, which includes retiring, teaching in a non-public school in North Carolina, or teaching in another state.

Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.