10/22/13 Educators fight law to end tenure

Educators fight law to end tenure
The Associated Press The Times-News 10/22/13  
Reprinted with permission.

   RALEIGH — Public school teachers and administrators are gearing up to fight a new North Carolina law that eliminates job protections and shifts toward paying teachers based on job performance.

   Teachers are signing petitions, planning a walkout and preparing legal action to fight a law passed in July that directs school districts to offer their top teachers a chance to sign four-year contracts in exchange for pay raises totaling $5,000 while gradually eliminating tenure.

   The effort to pay teachers based on merit and classroom accomplishment won’t work the way it may in sales or manufacturing, Brunswick County Schools Superintendent Edward Pruden said Monday. Having to compete for limited raises and contracts could cause teachers to undermine one another, rather than cooperate, he said.

   “How do you account for a teacher having a classroom of advanced or gifted students and another teacher having a classroom of students with learning disabilities, or students who don’t speak English, or students from poverty who don’t come to school with the advantages of a middleclass child? There’s no way to slice the onion that thin and separate teachers by their performance,” he said.

   By 2018, all teachers will work under one-, two- or four-year contracts that replace tenure rights requiring school administrators to follow a defined process when fi ring a teacher.