RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) spoke out against the state's licensure and compensation proposal on Tuesday.
The proposal would change the way North Carolina teachers are promoted and paid.
Currently, educators' years of experience and credentials factor into their licensing and pay. The new proposal would place more weight on teachers' performance that would be measured based on standardized test scores, peer evaluations and student surveys.
Teachers from multiple counties in the state gathered in downtown Raleigh to voice their opposition to the proposal.
"This plan is just another reminder that to the state it's never enough because the lives we shape aren't important. It's about testing and flawed data," Wake County teacher Kiana Espinoza said.
"The plan is more of a deterrent than an encouragement for teachers to enter the profession. I've said before that this plan is punitive in nature. It sends the message that we as educators are not doing enough and that we must prove our effectiveness based on upon the results of a broken measurement system," Harnett County educator Daria Fedrick said.
State Board of Education Superintendent Catherine Truitt said the proposal is not all about testing.
"Neither student testing nor student academic growth, also known as EVAAS, is a required pathway to advancement. For each level of licensure, there are other options for a teacher to advance outside of testing." she said.
This all comes as the nation faces severe teacher shortages.
Supports of the proposal believe this plan will increase retention and recruitment while also increasing teacher salary. The proposal restructures licensing and certification in the state that removes some barriers to entry while providing more support for growth.
However, the state's largest teacher's association, NCAE, called the plan a "risky gamble" and believe it would have the opposite impact.
"The proposed changes do nothing to get at the root of the cause of low recruitment and retention numbers. Instead, it lowers the standards to become a teacher disguised as increasing pathways to enter the profession," NCAE wrote in a press release.
The state ranks 38th in the country for average teacher salaries, according to the National Educator Association.
This isn't the first time educators have considered a change to the pay structure. Back in 2014, researchers with the University of North Carolina - Wilmington found less than close to 90% of teachers surveyed believed performance-based pay would disrupt the collaborative nature of teaching.
The same study found only 10% of educators "agreed that performance-based pay would incentivize teachers to work more effectively, attract more effective teachers into the profession, help retain more effective teachers in the profession, improve the quality of teaching at their school, or improving student learning."
A 2020 study found "the effect of teacher merit pay on student test scores is positive."
The proposal was initially presented in April and a final draft is expected to be given to the State Board of Education in fall. The NC General Assembly will review the plan next year.