Teachers seeking change, taking a stand

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Submitted: Sun, 02/16/2014 - 3:18am
Updated: Fri, 10/24/2014 - 3:14pm

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — New Hanover County teachers say, they’re taking a stand for public education.

Teachers dressed in red for the New Hanover County School Board meeting Saturday, February 15th.

They say they’re continuing in their fight for public education. Jenny Leeds spoke at the meeting, representing Ogden Elementary.

“We will not be bystanders.” Leeds said, “We are actively seeking change.”

The red-clad teachers are supporting the fight against a state law requiring districts give multi-year contracts and raises to 25% of teachers who must give up tenure.

“We believe that the bill is divisive and pits teachers against teachers.”

They’re opposing this mandate (senate bill 361) based on, what they say, are three flawed assumptions.

“One is that competition is key to improving schools, the second is that teachers can be motivated by cash incentives and the third, standardized test scores provide a reliable evidence of accomplished teaching.”

Leeds presented a petition signed by more than 98% of the school’s faculty and staff.

The school board is standing strong in support of the teachers. In December, they passed a resolution against the mandate, asking for a different plan.

They will continue supporting teachers with a meeting in Greensboro next Thursday.

School board chair, Don Hayes said,
“The larger school systems in the state are getting together … to express our concerns to the legislature.”

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15 Comments on "Teachers seeking change, taking a stand"

2015 years 8 months ago

The headline is a lie. The teachers aren’t seeking change. They are seeking more money.

2015 years 8 months ago

It’s easy to boost test scores when a child spends an entire school year preparing for the test. I have a child who graduated last year and the system was just as bad when she started as when she finished. It won’t get any better until fundamental changes are made. I can count on one hand the truly good teachers that she had in her entire academic experience. The demonizing of the teachers will stop when they stop whining about what they don’t have instead of being grateful for what they do have. They make higher than the average salary in the state while getting more time off than most. Times are tough all over. If they don’t like their pay then, like everyone else, they are free to seek employment that pays them according to their desires. They aren’t the only ones who have to put food on the table, but you don’t hear the other state employees banning together and whining about their pay.

2015 years 8 months ago

The issue is not just raises. It is the loss of benefits. It’s the freezing of the pay scale. You keep bringing up how much time off they get, but neglect to consider that if they have to take a day off during the school year they must pay the substitute themselves. What other job does that? And how is this considered “throwing money” at the problem? It’s bringing our teachers salaries back in line with the rest of the nation’s teachers so that the best we have don’t leave to seek other employment. I’ve watched several of the best that my child had leave in the past two years. You’ve claimed to have an issue with almost every teacher your child ever had. There’s a saying that loosely translates, if you have a problem with everyone you encounter then your probably the problem. I believe that saying applies to you.

2015 years 8 months ago

Thanks for the chuckle at the irony of your subject line. quod erat demonstrandum

Your response quibbles about the details of the incentive but fails to either compel for tenure or even persuade for blanket raises. The teachers’ association and their minions don’t argue against private schools, tuition assistance, home schooling and charter schools on the basis of children receiving an inferior education (often at lower cost) relative to public schools. The facts argue the opposite. Why are so many parents trying to find a way, often at great sacrifice, to offer their children better alternatives to public school education?

One can certainly understand people wanting to have more money. What disappoints is that some people do not want to compete to earn it. Do you think that the best and the brightest are making that argument?

Perhaps those who do not want to compete and achieve are those whose honest self appraisal finds them facing the stark reality of their own efforts and abilities as well as their unwillingness to improve them.

Does a sports team that does not practice and does not play all that well deserve the same trophy as a champion? Would you want to pay more to watch a league where everyone gets the same trophy at the end of the season, no matter how much effort they exert or how well they play?

As illustration, imagine a surgeon saying: “The last 10 operations did not have very good outcomes but if you pay me more, perhaps this one will be better.” Great performance deserves great incentives and compensation. The mediocre, marginal, lazy, complacent, etc. should seek their passion elsewhere.

Our children deserve the best and we should demand and accept nothing less.

2015 years 8 months ago

Sounds like you had a bad experience or two with a couple teachers. You chose not to handle it at the time and now spend your time bashing GOOD TEACHERS on this website. I’m sorry you feel that your child didn’t receive the education you felt that they should. My child graduated two years ago with a quality education and is excelling in college. Unlike you, I can count on one hand the truly bad teachers she had in her entire academic experience. Sounds like maybe the problem was you? The fact remains that teachers are UNDERPAID and, like you suggested, are being forced to seek employment elsewhere, robbing our school systems of our BEST AND BRIGHTEST TEACHERS further weakening the system you claim is broken. And I have never heard a teacher “whine”. They simply go to work, do there job, and speak out to be treated fairly as is the right of every person in this country. Why would you deny them that right?

2015 years 8 months ago

I don’t have a problem with everyone I run into. I have a problem with teachers who do not do their jobs or who do poor jobs. I have a problem with a teacher who airs a child’s problems to people other than the child’s parents. That happened with twice with students my daughter knew. We later learned from the parent that her previously straight-A student had developed test anxiety after a year with one of those teachers. I know a teacher who told another student that the test she was handing him was a waste of paper. I know a teacher who yelled at a student when she asked for an alternative book to read although others had asked for alternatives to the same book without issue. My child had a teacher ridicule a fellow student because of the student’s speech impediment. My child had a teacher in second grade who got on a kid in front of the class for not knowing what bus stop to get off at. That incident involved the parent calling the school when the driver drove by the stop without stopping. It turns out there was a discipline problem and the driver needed to change the route. But the teacher felt the need to humiliate the student in front of class. I could go on, but if you don’t get my point by now, then you never will. However, if you think it is okay for teachers to treat students like this, then I guess, in your eyes, I do have a problem.

I guess you missed the part of my post where I talked about the teachers receiving lower pay than the public schools doing a better job than the teachers at the public schools.

Why would salary manual for the schools of NC address substitute teacher pay if teachers paid for them out of their own pockets? Here is an excerpt explaining where the funds come from: “Unless otherwise required, a substitute for a regular teacher is paid from the same source of funds from which the regular teacher is paid. If the teacher is paid from more than one fund, the substitute will be paid at the same percent from each fund as the teacher for the appropriate number of days. Example: A teacher is 50% state and 50% local and is absent one day. The substitute will be paid for one day at 50% state and 50% local; NOT ½ day at 100% state and ½ day at 100% local.”

Teachers aren’t the only state employees under a pay freeze or losing benefits. I haven’t heard of any of the rest of them saying they would do a better job if they had more money. The average salaries are higher in other states for other professions as well. And here is a statistic for you–the average annual salary for teachers in North Carolina is approximately $46,000. The average salary for a police officer is approximately $41,000. They are lower than most other states. They are lower than the teachers here. I don’t hear them whining about their salaries. I don’t hear them implying that they could do better jobs if their salaries were higher and they have to put up with a heck of a lot more crap than teachers do. They don’t get the days off that teachers do and when they leave their homes in the mornings, they don’t know if they will ever be back home again like teachers do. And guess what, they also work long days. But they don’t get holidays off. They don’t get summers off. They don’t get a week off for Christmas. They don’t get a spring break. A teacher’s biggest problem for the day might be a kid throwing up or a parent jumping their case. A police officer has to worry if the suspect in the car is carrying a weapon. A police officer has to worry if a routine traffic stop is going to end up with him dead on the side of the road. They are state employees too and I don’t hear them up here whining about this and whining about that. They just go out there and do their jobs and pray they make it home to their families at the end of the day. So, please tell me again how bad teachers have it.

2015 years 8 months ago

I grew up in a private school were the teachers were paid less than what the public school teachers made. My education was better than that of my counterparts in public schools. So, how is throwing more money at the situation going to make for better education for our students?

Why should teachers get raises when the rest of the state employees are going without? Especially when teachers get higher than the average salary in the state. They also get more days off than most other people. Teachers have the same right as everyone else to seek jobs with better pay. It’s the way the world works.

My older daughter graduated with honors. I have no doubt that my younger daughter will do the same, if not better than her sister. I never said my children weren’t being educated. Their father and I just don’t solely rely on the public schools to do their jobs.

2015 years 8 months ago

Competition is key to improving schools. Absolutely true. To deny this is to deny human nature. Teachers can be motivated by cash incentives. Clearly. If this wasn’t the case then why are all the teachers decked out in red? They’d be happy about their alleged low income. Standardized tests are how we get prayer back in school.

2015 years 8 months ago

Wayne, you are really lost when it comes to an educator’s salary. First of all, I would be happy if I was making what I agreed to when I took this job 16 years ago. I still have the pay chart that I was given when I took this job and I am not being paid what I was promised by our Board, much less any raises or incentives that I was told that I may receive along the way. If you want to see what I make, just look at the NCDPI website and look at teacher salaries. Look at years of experience (16 for me)and then subtract 5 from that since my pay was frozen 5 years ago by Purdue. If you want me to tell you what it is to save you some time, I make around $12.00 an hour. Actually, I could draw unemployment and work for cash on the side a day or so a week and make more money. You are really clueless about the teachers that work hard for their students and what those teachers deserve.

2015 years 8 months ago

I would like for everyone to check out this web site. It lists all State Employees salary, BY NAME, how much money they make, how long they have worked there, where, and their title.
Then ask yourself; Why can’t I see how much a teacher makes, by searching BY NAME?
The web site says: The State Personnel Salary database lists all state government employees and their salary, department, position and age. It does not include public school employees, university system employees or UNC Hospitals employees.
Only public school teachers whose salary is not listed, complains! Maybe professors are paid so much at UNC they have money to burn! Which we all know they do! Look at how much it costs to send a kid to college!
Only after we as taxpayers can see just how much each teacher makes, BY YOUR NAME then we can respect you and support you. When you know your pay is never known, BY YOUR NAME, then you can protest and strike for more pay knowing no-one will ever know your FULL salary!!
As a footnote: I am troubled by the fact that you entered into a profession knowing beforehand what the pay was, what the raises, and when the raises come, yet you still took the job? And then a 1st year teacher strikes from a classroom for more pay? WHY?
Do not tell me, I can see what each teacher makes, and if you do tell me this, then include the link to the teachers name and where they teach and how much their TOTAL compensation package is!
Thank you!


2015 years 8 months ago

Wayne…I don’t understand your obsession with knowing what every teacher makes BY NAME. I think you seem to be a nosy little busybody. NC Teacher salary scales are readily available and are PUBLIC RECORD. A teacher with a certain amount of experience with a certain level of post graduate education is slotted in at a certain pay scale. It shouldn’t be hard for you to figure out (or maybe it will). The only other teacher related income they might have are small stipends for coaching, etc. And I bet if you’re bound and determined to know what a teacher makes, just ask! They will probably even provide you with a pay stub if your nosy behind doesn’t believe them. How about telling us what you make? In the meantime, here’s a website where you can see EXACTLY what a NC Public School Teacher makes. And I don’t recall any University professors complaining about their pay, so I don’t know your obsession there (other than maybe all the college rejection letters you received maybe made you a little bitter). Boy those teachers are really raking in the dough aren’t they? What with all those fancy homes and vacations they can buy with those enormous salaries, how in the world do they find time to teach?


2015 years 8 months ago

Wow…how out of touch you must be. Test scores and the quality of education in this state had never been at a higher level (especially here in our area) until the last few years when our state government decided that many things were more deserving of funds than educating our children. I’m not just talking about the current crop of idiots in Raleigh, I’m talking about the previous crop as well. This crop had an opportunity to solve the problem and instead has made it worse. Are there bad teachers? Sure, same as there are bad lawyers, plumbers carpenters, retail clerks, etc. Tenure doesn’t make an employee unfireable. Do you think a truly bad teacher would last long enough to earn tenure? And raises to 25% of teachers at a school? If you had 4 employees, wouldn’t you want all 4 of them working hard enough to deserve a raise? What if one school has 75% of their teachers deserving of raises and another school has only 15%? So in this “fair system”, you’re giving raises to 10% of the teachers who don’t deserve it and leaving out 50% at another school who do? If an employee deserves a raise, they deserve it no matter how many others also deserve it. Maybe I’ve been lucky, but none of my children have had a teacher who didn’t put everything they had into ensuring my child enjoyed and learned a subject. It does sadden me to watch some of our best and brightest educators leaving for higher paying greener pastures, not to become rich, but to simply PUT FOOD ON THE TABLE FOR THEIR OWN FAMILIES! This demonizing of our teachers must stop. The vast majority are hard-working, undervalued and underpaid professionals. They have the same right as you and I to stick up for fair pay.

2015 years 8 months ago

Concerned…are you a teacher? Do you have children? If you do, how many days a week are you in their classrooms volunteering? How many board meetings have you gone attended? Just curious.

2015 years 8 months ago

Few will disagree that the the quality of education has been in decline for many years. And yet, the answer for decades has been more of the same rug worn platitudes. Throw more money at the situation without a workable plan and somehow magically, this time, it will solve the problem. Well, it has not worked. Education has continued to decline.

When in a hole, rule #1 is stop digging. More money alone and still more of the same approach will not educate our children.

Remember that the teachers’ association represents their members, not our children. The incentives are skewed not toward educating our children but toward maximizing money to their members and dues to the association.

Why is the education of our children not the first priority? For example, what does tenure do but keep the worst and the laziest teachers while demoralizing the best and the brightest? If everyone gets the same incentive (compensation) whether doing the least to get by or working harder to achieve, which outcome do you think is more probable? And who suffers? Our children!

So change is necessary. Agreed! But the change should favor our children, first and foremost. Until the teachers can formulate a reasonable plan that means more than “pay us more for the same lousy job we have been doing and we’ll get better this time”, then other changes must be made.

Notice that their slogan is “Red for Ed” not “Read for Ed”.

Put our children first. That would be a real change.

2015 years 8 months ago

We didn’t have parent volunteers in the classroom when I was growing up. We didn’t even have teacher’s assistants. My teachers were capable of giving us a proper education without any other adult being in the classroom with us. It’s funny how you think that more adults in the classroom make for a better education, yet the education was better back when the teachers went solo. How much good does it really do to attend school board meetings? Do you really think they care about what the parents or other voters want? They don’t. They have their agenda and they are going to stick to it.