March 20, 2017

Roy Cooper wants another half billion dollars for teacher raises. Another double-digit raise: 10%.

That probably polls well. But does the public really know what teachers really make?

In the last three years, the Legislature’s reform majority raised teacher pay 15% to an average salary of nearly $50,000.

Add another $16,400 in benefits – lifetime healthcare, retirement and the employer’s part of Social Security – all of it paid by taxpayers – and the truth on teacher pay becomes clearer. In fact, we have said before that teacher compensation has risen twice as fast as what the rest of us make in recent years.

So Governor Cooper and the reform majority both support higher teacher salaries. Here’s the difference: Roy Cooper just throws money into the system because the system is a cog in his political apparatus. That’s the typical politician’s mentality. But the conservatives want to shake up the system to get better results. That’s why pay raises need to be tied to performance like the $3,500 bonus our best reading teachers can earn under a new reform.

Let’s see if the Governor reaches for common ground with the conservative reformers by tying teacher raises to performance. Or is he too ensnared in the union’s web to go there?

And how about raising teacher standards along with raisins teacher pay? According to the National Council on Teacher Quality, North Carolina gets an F among the states for removing bad teachers from the classroom.

The conservative majority passed tenure reform to get ineffective teachers out of the classroom but the courts blocked it. It’s time to try again and get the ineffective teachers out of our schools. Will Governor Cooper join with reformers to get bad teachers out of the classroom?

Unfortunately, Cooper’s record on holding poor teachers accountable suggests he won’t. As a Senator, he voted for a 20% salary increase that included a competency test for all teachers in low performing schools.

But with test time approaching, the NCAE went crazy and Cooper voted to kill the testing plan.

Raise teacher pay. But raise standards, too, and raise pay based on performance.