When I was in North Carolina last week, I spoke in Raleigh at an event pulled together on short notice by NC Policy Watch, a state watchdog for the public interest. As it happened, I spoke just a few days after State Senator Phil Berger introduced a horrendous piece of legislation that he claimed would produce “excellence,” by removing all job protections (i.e., due process) for teachers), by tying teacher pay to test scores (aka merit pay), and by removing any salary increments for those who earn a master’s degree or have additional years of experience. Everything tied to test scores. (The video is here.)
While there I learned that it takes a teacher in North Carolina fourteen years of teaching to reach a salary of $40,000 a year.
When I hear stats like this, I grind my teeth thinking of the pundits and think tank gurus who collect six-figure salaries advocating that teachers should be cut down to size and have their benefits reduced and their salaries tied to student test scores.
I loved my time in Raleigh. The cherry blossoms were in bloom (it was snowing in New York), the audience was enthusiastic, and the best gift of all was this wonderful editorial that I received in my email today. When there are editorial writers like this one, a man who clearly understands the futility of what is now called “reform,” and the damage that the so-called “reformers” are doing to the education profession and to our nation, my faith is renewed that the privatizers and teacher-bashers won’t win. At some point and it will not be long, the public will get it too.