RALEIGH: NC educators argue tenure law be repealed, not modified - WNCN: News, Weather

NC educators argue tenure law be repealed, not modified

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Teachers protest during a Moral Monday demonstration. (Jeff Reeves, WNCN) Teachers protest during a Moral Monday demonstration. (Jeff Reeves, WNCN)
RALEIGH, N.C. -

Public pressure is growing on the McCrory administration to revise a law that will give the top 25 percent of teachers raises if they give up their tenure.

Wake County and several other school districts have formally spoken out against the 2013 law, which directs them to pick the best 25 percent of its classroom teachers and offer them the tenure-ending contracts. Those who accept the contracts would get bonuses.

Gov. Pat McCrory said he shares the concerns of some about how the tenure-ending law is being implemented, promising to review it with an eye toward changing it. However any changes would need the approval of the General Assembly.

McCrory's education adviser said blow back from the education community prompted the review.

"We've been hearing from superintendents and practitioners that they need a little more control on this," Eric Guckian said. "We want to keep the standard high and consistent, and this is very complex work and to do it in a way where we incentivize teamwork."

Still, not everyone in the teaching field is happy with the governor's promise. Elizabeth Whisenant, who has spent nearly a decade in the classroom, said for the change in the tenure law to be acceptable, it needs to be re-written from top to bottom.

"Modified, meaning overhauled and changing completely," Whisenant said. "Just tweaking it to make it sound better, it's not worth looking at over again."

McCrory said he's not thinking about repeal, but believes there is a better way to implement the change.

"That was an example of a law in which the intent was good, but they weren't sure of the execution. I think improvements need to be made on that law regarding the execution," McCrory said. "The intent remains the same, but the execution can be much more clearly thought out and be more long-term."

The North Carolina Association of Educators is one of two groups that have filed lawsuits against the law. The groups says no amount of modification is acceptable.

"We'll pull back this lawsuit if they repeal it," NCAE president Rodney Ellis said. "There's no modification that's going to make it any better. It's simply bad policy."

McCrory promised that his staff will finish its review of the law before the General Assembly reconvenes for the short session in May.

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Steve Sbraccia

Steve is an award-winning reporter for WNCN and former assistant professor. A seasoned professional, Steve is proud to call the Triangle home since 2005 after over two decades in Boston, Mass.  More>>

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