North Carolina Republican legislators have pushed through a proposal which would revoke lifetime tenure for public school teachers. As the law stands now, after five years teachers are eligible for tenure, which ends up making it more difficult for school administrators to hire, fire and reward performance.

Under the new proposal, a four year contract would be awarded to the top performers (top 25% of teachers), while others would receive one or two year contracts.

The new North Carolina budget also ends a 10 percent salary increase for teachers with master's degrees, although those who already receive the pay bump will be grandfathered in.

While this is not the private sector, though it should be, this moves closer to at least treating employees of the state in similar fashion. After all, we know that government doesn't really expect results, even when their plans miserably fail. They just continue to throw money at it.

The private sector demands results, right? Government? Well, not so much.

The Teachers are losing it over the current proposal.

"It's going to create a revolving door for public educators in North Carolina," said Rodney Ellis, president of the North Carolina Association of Educators.

"That's devastating to the educators and the profession itself," Ellis said. "It sends the message to people throughout the state of North Carolina that educators aren't valued for what they do."

North Carolina teachers still have more employment protection than most of the citizens of North Carolina.

North Carolina isn't doing anything new though. In fact, South Dakota, Louisiana, have moved away from tenure policies. Idaho did it in 2011, by being the first to explicitly state that "No new employment contract between a school district and certificated employee shall result in the vesting of tenure, continued expectations of employment or property rights in an employment relationship," according to the Education Commission of the States. However, the following year it was overturned in a voter referendum. Apparently some in Idaho still don't get it.

In a 2010 ECS survey New Mexico, Colorado, and Florida all eliminated the term “tenure,” while other states have repealed tenure or streamlined the due process procedures.

Kathy Christie of ECS also pointed to other states that have made significant changes to tenure since the 2010 report:

  • In Arizona, teachers who have tenure but are rated in the lowest performance category in an evaluation now are placed on probation, meaning they can be fired much more easily.
  • In Virginia, new teachers are now on probation for five years instead of three.
  • Connecticut made it easier for districts to decline to renew a teacher's contract, and the state now considers evaluations in deciding whether to award tenure.

I am not for state education in any fashion. I am one that believes parents are responsible for educating their children. If they are unable to fulfill their duties, then they should be banding together to do it privately, though I strongly encourage parents to move towards teaching their own children, not turning them over to someone else to do it.

With that in mind, I'm glad to see that teachers will have their jobs evaluated just like the rest of us that work. I'd say this is a move in the right direction for North Carolina.

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