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The State Board of Education voted Thursday to ask lawmakers for authorization to run a six-year pilot of its plan to reform licensure and teacher pay in North Carolina.
The 2023-24 school year would be a planning year, followed by five years to pilot. According to State Superintendent Catherine Truitt, the pilot would include between five and 15 districts of varying size and geography. Participation in the pilot would be voluntary.
Under North Carolina’s current system, teachers are paid based on their years of experience. The new proposal would introduce different levels of licensure and corresponding pay, ranging from apprentice teachers to advanced leadership roles.
The Board has been working in conjunction with the Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission (PEPSC) to come up with a plan to implement this trial of what has become a controversial proposal.
Proponents say it is necessary to fix a broken licensure system, get higher pay for teachers, and ensure educators have a pathway to promotion other than administration. Opponents say that it amounts to a merit pay proposal and doesn’t take into account the years of experience accrued by teachers over their career.
During a different part of the Board meeting Wednesday, Truitt talked about the need both for higher pay for teachers and a change to licensure.
“We are paying teachers according to two metrics that don’t correlate to student outcomes,” she said.
Those two metrics, according to her, are years of experience and degrees held. She said that across-the-board raises are necessary for teachers in North Carolina, as well as a change to the licensure system so that the state’s schools can attract more candidates.
On Thursday, before the vote, Board Chair Eric Davis said that the Board gets regular emails on this topic. He noted one he received the night before from a veteran teacher that included 10 recommendations for the Board to consider.
“I’m pleased to report that of those 10, six are in this plan,” he said.
Of the remaining four, he said two are outside the scope of the Board’s authority and two could arguably be considered included.
Separately, the Board voted unanimously Thursday to support a pay raise for teachers “in excess of 10%” and a raising of beginning teacher pay to make North Carolina “a leader” in the Southeast.
Below is the licensure reform request to lawmakers approved by the Board.
The Board also voted to accept recommendations from PEPSC, which has been working on refining the elements of the licensure and teacher pay reform plan that should be included in the pilot. It is below.