McCrory announces education initiatives

Published 8:14 am Monday, May 12, 2014

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory on Wednesday announced a sweeping array of education initiatives that will increase teacher pay, provide in-state tuition for newly separated veterans, increase funding for textbooks and establish salary supplements for teachers who obtain advanced degrees in a subject they are teaching.

“For years, teachers have suffered through little to no pay raises as the state had to endure one of the toughest economic recessions in generations,” said McCrory. “The Career Pathways for Teachers framework reverses that trend with modest raises in the short-term, and a meaningful, long-term plan that empowers teachers to determine their own financial future while at the same time giving local school districts the flexibility to address the most pressing needs of their students and community.”

In February, the governor announced he would work to increase the base pay for North Carolina teachers to $35,000. At the time, the governor said he would announce additional teacher pay initiatives after the state’s revenue picture became clearer. The “Career Pathways for Teachers” framework the governor unveiled at North Carolina Agricultural and Technological University is the follow up of the February announcement.

Raises for veteran teachers is the first step of the framework. Teachers in steps 8-12 will receive increases ranging from 2.8 to 4.3 percent. Teachers in steps 13-36 will average a pay hike of 2 percent. Beyond these raises, the Career Pathways for Teachers framework establishes a modern, more professional pay structure that allows individual teachers to significantly increase their compensation beyond their base pay.

There are three fundamental pillars to the Career Pathways for Teachers pay structure:

Professional Pay Schedule – Enables teachers to earn more money earlier in their careers with significant compensation increase opportunities on three-year cycles to be fully implemented by 2018.

Career Pathways – Allows educators to earn raises for locally-determined leadership roles, teaching high-need subjects, teaching in high-need schools and pursuing other opportunities for continuous improvement. Career Pathways will be implemented statewide by or before 2018. Local school districts can create a locally-designed plan or implement a plan designed by state education leaders through the Career Pathways Fund.

Career Pathways Fund – This $9 million fund will assist school districts in the creation of local Career Pathways that encourage effective teachers to expand their impact and maximize student achievement. This three-year fund will allow local educators and district leaders to receive support as they create or expand a performance-based pay system catered to the needs of their schools and students. Pilot initiatives in eight school districts will form the foundation of a statewide model for performance-based compensation. Eight additional pilots will start the following year.

“Research and common sense tells us that the quality of teacher standing before a student is the biggest factor in that child’s education,” continued McCrory. “We must make it possible for our best teachers to remain in the classroom instead of leaving to earn more income as an administrator or by abandoning the profession.”

In addition to the Career Pathways for Teachers framework, the governor announced:

He will increase funding for early childhood education by $3.6 million;

Seek salary supplements for teachers who earn advanced degrees in the subjects they are teaching. The supplements will be 10 percent of the teacher’s base pay;

Double state funding for textbooks to $46 million; and

Work to establish a scholarship fund for newly separated veterans that will provide them essentially in-state tuition at University of North Carolina institutions.

State employees will receive a raise of $1,000 including benefits, which is an average of 2 percent.