nc senate bill 402

an open letter to the nc senate:

* * *

dear senators,

i was flipping through  bill 402 for some light reading, and i found three lines that struck me as rather important.  surelythese three lines weren’t buried within an over-400 page document in hopes they might just slide by, right?  for your convenience, dear senators, i copied and pasted the words here.


SECTION 8.22. Notwithstanding Section 35.11 of this act, no teachers or instructional support personnel, except for school nurses, shall be paid on the “M” salary schedule or receive a salary supplement for academic preparation at the six-year degree level or at the doctoral degree level for the 2014-2015 school year, unless they were paid on that salary schedule or received that salary supplement prior to the 2014-2015 school year.

so, let’s just make sure we’re on the same page – this tiny section states that teachers who are not receiving master’s pay in the upcoming school year will not earn it in the future, no matter if they earn a masters or phd.

meaning, if i may be so bold,

that teachers wouldn’t  have fiscal inspiration to enroll in a maters program or complete one currently in-progress.  the bill isn’t saying they shouldn’t, of course, we can’t have that impression – it simply states that the debt taken on by enrolling in one won’t be paid back by a higher salary.  meaning teachers with higher education, some whom we could call dr, are as valuable to the state as 22 year olds with a bachelor’s degree.


oh!  and dear senators, i copied and pasted a few words from the state constitution.  i will paste them below for your convenience.

Each Senator shall represent, as nearly as may be, an equal number of inhabitants, the number of inhabitants that each Senator represents being determined for this purpose by dividing the population of the district that he represents by the number of Senators apportioned to that district;

so, if i may,

the job of the senate is to represent the people of the state, broken into districts.  yes? of course it is!  we know this, because we learned it in elementary school!  some of us learned it in public elementary school, but don’t fret – we got our tetanus shots.

* * *

dear senators,

i would like to introduce you to my wife.  she is the teacher of the year at a north carolina elementary school.

it’s a public school.

my wife is currently enrolled at a university in north carolina to earn her masters of education.

that means she’ll be even better at her job.

she’s pregnant (oh – it’s a girl!) with our baby.


my wife works a full time job of loving and teaching 3rd graders, interacts with parents, is an active member within the school environment, puts up with me, goes to graduate classes and works her heart out doing the work assigned, and is pregnant.


we made the decision for her to enroll in school for a masters because it would be a long term gain for our family – she would earn more over her career with the masters pay, and the extra salary would help erase the debt taken on in student loans for her program.

i, too, am enrolled in a masters program (at ncsu, if you must know).

we decided, dear senators, that hard work was worth the effort because higher salaries would be a boon to our family.  instead, if the bill goes through as is, with those three sneaky lines, our family will simply be facing more debt, because of loans, without a means to pay them back.

my wife is an inhabitant of this state

i am an inhabitant of this state.

our daughter will very soon be an inhabitant of this state (october birthday!).

thousands upon thousands of students within the public school system are inhabitants of this state.

my wife deserves your best.

my sweet daughter deserves your best.

the students deserve your best.

so, maybe it would be a good idea to keep the masters salary as is.  maybe it would be a good idea to support teachers becoming better teachers so our schools can be better schools and our students better leaders for tomorrow.

maybe it would be silly to keep stripping public schools of resources, such as TA’s, raising class sizes, removing incentive to earn higher education degrees, and wonder why the public schools are struggling.

* * *

i tell ya what,

you go have surgery done in a hospital with no nurses and a doctor just out of med school who also has to provide your anesthesia and he’s got twenty or so other patients that day,

and i’ll be cool with your bill as it is.

make good choices, and remember that you represent all of us.


11 thoughts on “nc senate bill 402

  1. How does this relate to section 35.11(c) of the same bill that says “Certified public schoolteachers with certification based on academic preparation at the six-year degree level shall receive a salary supplement of one hundred twenty-six dollars ($126.00) per month in addition to the compensation provided for certified personnel of the public schools who are classified as “M” teachers.”? Also it isn’t clear to me if they are referring to specifically the 2014-2015 school year or ALL future school years. My current interpretation is that they mean that one, specific school year.

    Not being snarky. I’m legitimately asking. Also this is my first post on your site. It would seem that you hate CAPITAL LETTERS. Although based on the post’s subject matter you are clearly a fan of capitol letters. Witty word play for two points!

    • Will, this salary schedule is for the current year. They are considering eliminating pay for the next year, 2014-2015. It is written for one year, but so far, the things they have taken away have not been returned- our pay raise is a great example. If they can remove Master’s pay for one year, what’s to stop them for doing it in following years?

      • How does this fit with other industries? By that I mean, are teachers the only ones not getting raises or are other workers in North Carolina suffering from the same lack of raises?

        Is this a symptom of legislative incompetence/poor planning, or is this a symptom of a bad economy? I’m guessing probably both.

      • #Will’sgoodquestion – the economy has been partly to blame, but currently that is less the case. There is a public choice to not use money for public education. Folks would have to be ok with higher property tax and there wouId need to be fewer folks tax and gov’t adverse – but evidently we educators have failed because our public doesn’t even know that we have one of the lowest tax rates in the industrial west and one of the most efficient gov’t spending industries – as inefficient as it is, it is much more inefficient elsewhere. Big organizations will be inefficient. But I’ve never seen an organization INCREASE EFFICIENCY by being FINANCIALLY STARVED. But that’s what these tax and gov’t ignoramouses seem to think will work. We have not educated our populous well. Sadly we will all pay in the very short long run. I want these TeaParty folks to present the country of India as their model -as they bash the European social welfare countries. India – few taxes, no health care, free market and black market – open sewers – but hey! BOOMING ECONOMY. See? It will work. It’ll just look a litte different.
        Footnote: bankrupt Spain has a similar tax structure to ours, but a spending structure similar to Germany and countries that taxed more. It was not their spending that sunk them, it was corruption.

  2. I would really like the members of the Legislature to name their teachers who made them hate teachers and public education. They obviously have a vendetta against all public education employees because of the ones they hate so much! AND BY THE WAY……I think it is important to note that this group of Legislators were elected on the platform that they would ‘fix’ Public Education! Well, they’re fixing it all right! I take it as a personal challenge to campaign and/or vote against every one of them in coming elections! THEY HAVE NOT IMPROVED ANYTHING!!!!

  3. I’m a parent with students at J Y Joyner Elementary, and my son was fortunate to have Mrs. Orr as his 3rd grade teacher. Since becoming the parents of elementary aged students, my husband and I have often marveled at how smart, capable, patient, effective, service-oriented–the list can go on and on–the teachers are at our kids’ public school. In addition to their teaching role, many teachers also manage special projects and counsel and advise students and parents. Many work extra jobs after school or on weekends to make ends meet.

    Incentives are powerful at achieving desired outcomes, in this case, committed experienced teachers. Extra pay for those with extra training ensures we keep the best teachers in our schools. Even in a bad economy, it’s important to build capacity with incentives.

  4. Elizabeth, I do not believe they hate teachers. I do believe, however, that they intend to minimize or render ineffective education in general. The facts show clearly that the more highly educated an American is the more likely they are to vote progressive or liberal. That is a statistical evaluation, and cannot be applied to every person with a graduate degree, obviously. If Republicans and Libertarians can keep Americans uneducated, they can minimize the vote against their regressive policies.

  5. There was a column by Dick Martinez (sorry, I think his name might actually be Rick) a while back posing the idea that if teachers were compensated based on the performance of their students, then further certification and advanced degrees would lead to greater compensation IF they actually helped the teacher improve student performance. I wrote back saying EXCELLENT idea, and while we’re at it, let’s do the same with the medical profession -lets’ compensate Mds based on the health of their patients! Start out at a medical techs salary, then, IF they take on 100K debt to further their expertise, AND if translates into better patient health, THEN they will be able to increase their compensation. I didn’t hear back from him. He’s now been scooped by McCrory so is out of the N&O…

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