Members of the Durham school board voted unanimously yesterday to join a lawsuit against the law eliminating “career status” protections afforded to veteran teachers.

Guilford County and Wake County are also opposing the llegislature’s mandate to identify the “best” teachers and offer them a bonus to abandon due process. Think how dumb that is: find your best teachers and make it easier to fire them.

Members of the Durham board are defending their teachers against the legislature’s nonstop assault on career educators, which is causing an exodus of experienced teachers from the state.

“If the governor and the North Carolina General Assembly won’t stand up for our children’s teachers, then we will,” said Heidi Carter, Durham school board chairwoman. “This 25 percent mandate is not about rewarding excellence in teaching. It’s about coercing teachers to give up a right they’ve justly earned. And that’s a right to salary protection and a right to due process.”

Durham will join a soon-to-be-filed lawsuit by Guilford County Schools asking for an injunction preventing school districts from implementing the provision. A separate lawsuit has been filed against the measure by the North Carolina Association of Educators. The statewide teacher group has also led a “decline to sign” campaign asking teachers to not support the provision.

Lawmakers asked school districts to identify their top 25 percent of high-performing teachers and offer them a new four year contract with a $500 annual salary increase. In exchange, those teachers lose their tenure.The pay provision, included in the state budget last July, aims to reward teachers based on performance instead of having a tenure system that authors of the measure say “fosters mediocrity and discourages excellence.”

“Career status,” or teacher tenure, does not prevent a school board from firing a teacher, board member Leigh Boardley said.

“What career status provides for teachers, among other things, is their right to due process,” she said. “Their right to a hearing if they are fired. I think that’s a really reasonable thing for our staff to get for the hard work that they give us.”