North Carolina leaders consider changing teacher pay to focus on 'effectiveness,' not experience

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Tuesday, January 31, 2023
NC leaders consider basing teacher pay on 'effectiveness'
The State Board of Education is looking into a new model that would change the way teachers are paid, moving away from experience and toward merit.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The State Board of Education is looking into a new model that would change the way teachers are paid. The idea moves away from paying teachers based on experience and instead moves toward pay based on teachers' "effectiveness."

This comes as a state report in May 2022 found the COVID-19 pandemic "substantially disrupted education in North Carolina," with several grades requiring at least seven additional months of school to catch up.

In a new report Monday, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction's Office of Learning Recovery and Acceleration found teacher longevity was not a great predictor of student success.

"Based on student outcomes, teachers and principals who had been at their school for more than three years moderately mitigated the negative effects of the pandemic on students' performance," the report said. "District and school leaders should consider placing their best, not necessarily most experienced, teachers where they can have the most impact, especially early grades reading and middle grades math and science."

The State Board of Education would need to define how teacher effectiveness is measured before this new pay model could be implemented, but the system could include student test scores and teacher evaluation.

"Of course we're going to try hard to get amazing test scores, but that shouldn't be based on nobody's pay grade because they're still dealing with peoples' children," Dezhane Moore said. Moore is studying education at NCCU.

Danai Fannin, an associate professor at NCCU, said if a teacher's merit is based on test scores, she's not sure how that would work or be fair. But she doesn't rule out the idea.

"You can be a good teacher, but the students not score well on the test for a myriad of other reasons," Fannin said. "Teachers can be there for 20 years and not be as effective, so it's not a bad idea to look at merit."

Fannin added given the current salary of teachers in North Carolina, which as of 2021 is slightly above $54,000, it's important to address that first.

"Pay is low. It's ridiculous how low their pay is," Fannin said. "There's so many shortages, especially in special education, which is the area speech pathologists and audiologists work in and they're understaffed as well."