Not even an average teacher pay raise of 7 percent is deemed enough by the Big Education status quo monopoly. No, instead, the head of the Chapel Hill/Carrboro public school system writes yet another attack on Republican legislators who have dared to begin to reform the state’s K-12 system and who have given teachers a gigantic pay raise. Here’s part of the anti-Republican rant from Tom Forcella:
Teacher dissatisfaction has been on the rise as a result of actions taken by the North Carolina legislature over the past few years. When the state budget began experiencing shortfalls, teacher salaries were frozen. As of the start of this fiscal year, our state ranked 46th in the nation in teacher pay (this was prior to recent legislation that did raise salaries, but mostly for beginning teachers).
Recent legislative actions reduced funding for teacher assistants, removed some pay incentives for teachers who further their education with advanced degrees, scrapped the N.C. Teaching Fellows program and failed to provide adequate funding for textbooks and technology. Bills were even introduced to create pay raises only for teachers willing to relinquish “career status.”
Teachers feel attacked.
The most recent teacher turnover report from the state Department of Public Instruction, which covers 2012-13, showed the number of teachers who resigned to teach in another state has been increasing since 2010-11.
So let’s look further at the teacher turnover issues. I recently talked about it with JLF’s Director of Research and Education Studies, Dr. Terry Stoops. Here’s part of our Carolina Journal Radio conversation.
Stoops: Well, the data show that around 14 percent, or 13,000 teachers, left their teaching position last year. This is the 2012-13 school year. And I say “leave their position” because some of these teachers just went to go teach in other school districts or in charter schools. Others retired. So this doesn’t represent the turnover as it’s traditionally understood by a lot of people — someone leaving the profession completely. These are mostly teachers that left the profession or retired.
Martinez: So, for example, a teacher could have been teaching in Durham County and decided that they got a better offer over in Buncombe County, and off they went. That person goes into this report?
Stoops: That’s right. There are three reasons — three top reasons — why teachers left the profession, according to this report, or left their position. And that is to teach in another school district, retire, or move because of family relocation. And those are the three top reasons — mostly beyond the control of the state. I mean, if a teacher wants to teach in another school district, they should be free to do so. Obviously, if a teacher is thinking about retirement, they should do so. And you can’t do much about a family relocation. So that’s what this report shows, that those are the three [top] reasons why teachers left their position.
Martinez: Here’s where it gets really, really interesting. And we’ll get back to the policy questions in a moment. But when this report was released … there were a number of media stories and advocacy groups who came out and said, “Now, see? People are leaving the profession because of all the things that the legislators have passed.” [Reforms] that these groups consider to be anti-teacher. That got a reaction from you. Tell us about it.
Stoops: It really misrepresents what the report is saying. Well, first of all, if you look at the reasons why teachers left, and if you chalk it up to teachers leaving the state or being dissatisfied with the profession, that amounts to about 1,300 teachers; 1,300 of the 13,000 that left their position did so because of, either they wanted to teach out of state — and that’s not necessarily because of the policies of the Republicans; it’s just that they found a job in another state — or they were dissatisfied with teaching. And, again, that dissatisfaction may be caused by any number of factors in their current teaching position.
But to make the causal jump — the leap — that just because these teachers are leaving the profession or leaving to teach out of state, it’s because of Republican policies — the report just does not support that conclusion. We don’t have the information. We can’t get into each of the teacher’s heads and figure out exactly why they’re leaving. So what the media did — and what a lot of the groups on the Left did — is to attribute these teachers that left the profession permanently, attribute that to Republican policies. And there’s just no evidence that that’s the case.
And so it goes.