Educating Legislators

On Wednesday, June 20, 2007, several North Carolina educators visited Raleigh to "educate" the General Assembly regarding issues of teacher working conditions and the state of our schools in general. This blogger participated in this event and this blog post is dedicated to the event.

North Carolina educators have alot to be thankful for with the current makeup of state government. In the past four years, Governor Easley and the General Assembly have worked together to begin increasing NC teacher salary to the national average, improve working conditions in the classroom, support programs that encourage recruitment of native-born Tar Heels to become teachers, and rewarding schools that perform above state standards. All these accomplishments are fostering a positive working environment for teachers and students alike which leads to better educated students.

Despite all these accomplishments, one very important component of professionalism is lacking for NC teachers. Currently, educators in North Carolina must pay $50 for personal leave when situations develop that require them to miss work. North Carolina is the only state in the union that requires its teachers to pay for personal leave.

Educators are asking the General Assembly to approve two days of paid personal leave for teachers so they will have the security of not have to choose between important matters and losing pay. At the present, teachers are often forced between attending funerals, family issues, and other non-sickness related emergencies or paying $50 per day. They can not plan for these situations to occur during their vacation time and the choice between work and attending the event backs teachers into a corner.

Some argue that teahers already receive more vacation time than any other profession. It is true that we receive two months vacation in the summer, a holiday break, and a spring break. However, teachers are only paid on a ten-month salary, unlike state employees and private sector workers. In addition, on average teachers condense a 12 month work cycle into 10. Personally, during the school year I am working 7 days a week on educattion related matters and average nearly 70 hours on my teaching duties.

Others say providing personal leave enables educators to miss more work at state expense. We all understand that some may take advantage of the two personal days, but the vast majority of educators see the importance of being in the classroom and will only use the leave in an emergency.

The North Carolina General Assembly and Governor Easley are commended for their support of education and the personell who have the awesome responsibility to enlighten the next generation of Tar Heel leaders. Providing personal leave is one more piece of the puzzle in continuing to ensure our teachers are treated in a professional manner.

"When teachers are happy, students achieve more!"


We treat

teachers horribly, and then wonder why we cant recruit and retain them.

Im glad we have started bringing the pay up, but you are right, we desperately need things like this to make sure we actually have the teachers we need for all of the new students coming into the state.

Draft Brad Miller-- NC Sen ActBlue

"Keep the Faith"

Speaking as someone with experience...

NC Schools can't keep teachers because of bad management, bad benefits packages, and poor pay.

I know a teacher that was not "renewed" because she refused to socially promote children that couldn't handle the work for the grade they were in, much less the next. She attempted to complain through the County System and then to the State and was told that it was the Principal's decision and that there was no recourse.

This teacher was unemployed for 2 years until the local DoD schools hired her (at a starting salary of $45,000 annually). The difference between systems was striking. Duty-free lunches, planning periods, and (my personal favorite) a classroom with 13 students.

As long as the NC system of managing educators sucks, we're not going to keep the good teachers and we shouldn't. The State Schools don't deserve them.

Thomas S. Brock


What have YOU done today to make the world a better place?

Personal Days!

*For disclosure purposes, I am a teacher.

Two personal days is very reasonable. School teachers are not treated as professionals. I would suggest that teachers and administrators sit down at the table and try to bang out a compromise (not just in North Carolina). Both sides are going to have to give.

First of all... salaries. Let's be honest.... teaching salaries are awful. Teachers feel underappreciated. It is time teachers get a major bump in salary to make them competetive with the rest of the working world. Low salaries and poor working conditions (lack of planning periods, over testing, etc...) lead many teachers to burn out quickly. By improving some of these areas, teacher retention and recruitment would become much easier.

Teachers also need to budge. While most teachers are extremely dedicated, tenure should not be a shield to protect all teachers. I knew a guy that worked with Teach for America in a poor school district in the state. He worked hours getting his lesson plans ready for his history classes. This teacher would have loved to teach advanced classes (he was an Ivy League graduate and quite knowledgeable) but a lady who had been at school for 20+ years was teaching the AP and advanced history classes. Her idea was to put in a historical movie (The Patriot, Gangs of new York, etc) every class period. The guy I knew left teaching because of the frustration of the situation. I suggest merit based pay that increases the salaries based on administrative evaluation, not on test scores.