N.C. must invest to magnify the impact of great teachers

Published in The News & Observer, May 8, 2014, by Public Impact Co-Directors Emily Ayscue Hassel and Bryan C. Hassel

North Carolina will never make the educational strides it needs until the best educators have far greater impact for a lot more pay.

The General Assembly rightfully added 6 percent focused primarily on early-career teachers’ base pay, but other states increased teachers’ salaries, too, and likely will again. N.C. average pay is still dead last in the region. State leaders must complete the 10 percent average raise – and then add more – just to be average regionally. Meanwhile, the pay gap with neighboring states yawns wider for experienced teachers.

Most importantly, base pay bumps for early-career teachers don’t empower or entice excellent teachers, many of whom are veterans, to lead from the classroom – reaching more students and helping peers excel.

It doesn’t have to be this way. N.C. can lead the region in pay for excellent experienced teachers by encouraging districts to offer substantially higher pay to teacher-leaders who reach more students and lead peers. Districts can also pay other teachers more for joining teams these teachers lead. Educators can advance their careers while teaching, and more students can experience excellent instruction. Using new staffing models, districts can make these changes within regular budgets, as long as the state does not fund base pay increases by slashing school budgets….

Read the complete Op-Ed here.

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