Under the Dome

Berger introduces second wave of education reform: teacher pay, tenure, school grading and limits on year-end tests

Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger on Tuesday unveiled what he called the second round of education reforms aimed at holding schools and teachers more accountable for students’ progress – including ending tenure and grading entire schools.

“The days of accepting a broken education system in North Carolina are over,” Berger said at a news conference flanked by several Republican senators. “We must continue to demand better and positive change for our kids.”

Berger characterized the plan – outlined in Senate Bill 361, filed Tuesday – as one that will improve literacy and graduation rates.

Last year, Berger introduced the same bill. But with Gov. Bev Perdue, a Democrat, in office and Republicans not yet holding a veto-proof majority in the General Assembly, only some portions with compromises were included in the budget.

Berger told reporters he expects the bill to be more successful this year. He said the makeup of the legislature has changed, and “the problem still exists.”

The new bill is back with much of the wording that Berger originally wanted last year. The legislation would result in major changes to public education in North Carolina by spelling out how schools would be graded and ending tenure.

The legislation would spell out the details for how schools would be given A through F letter grades to measure their performance. Those grades would be listed on report cards given to parents. The bill would base the grades on factors such as performance on state tests, national exams and graduation rates.

The new bill says that the state Board of Education can list growth on the report cards but it can’t be used to change a school’s letter grade.

The bill also represents Berger’s latest effort to end tenure for teachers. Under current state law, teachers who have completed four years of service can receive tenure, meaning they can only be fired for a specific cause. Teachers with less experience can be fired for any reason.

1363721687 Berger introduces second wave of education reform: teacher pay, tenure, school grading and limits on year-end tests The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Doing Their Job

If a teacher is doing his/her job well, they should not need state mandated job security. Most teachers are great, but some have taken advantage of the state's tenure system, knowing that they cannot be let go. Secondly, teachers in NC are not paid as bad as we are told. What we are not being told is that teachers are eligible for the state pension plan and health plan after retirement and they pay next to nothing into the system. If teachers were paid $50k/year for the 30 years it takes them to reach full pension status, they would come out far worse in the end. South Carolina, which NC was most recently compared to as being below in teacher pay, they no longer have a pension plan. Teachers must now contribute to an independent retirement, like the private sector, because the pension cost the state too much to keep up. Do not be fooled by the rhetoric. Teachers are told they are mistreated so that certain interests can manipulate them in a large voting bloc.

who's going to take that teaching job?

it's not like we pay our teachers enough for all the work they do and stress they accept, and if we also stop letting them earn tenure for just a bit of job security, how are we going to lure a dedicated workforce?

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