Hard on the heels of enactment of a new North Carolina law designed to eliminate tenure for public school teachers, the Robeson County Schools have reluctantly developed a point system to rank its teachers. No one, it seems, likes it—not school administrators and not teachers.
The controversial law requires school districts to offer four-year contracts and substantial pay raises to 25% of teachers rated “proficient” under the state’s teacher evaluation system. Teachers who sign new contracts agree to relinquish their right to tenure. The district has established criteria for offering contracts to approximately 300 of the district’s 2,000 teachers. Currently, 1,200 teachers qualify for tenure.
Under Robeson’s plan, the district will award points for having four or five years of experience, possessing a master’s degree, achieving certification by the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards, serving inroles with the schools and teaching exceptional children, mathematics or science.
“It is law,” Stephen Gaskins, assistant superintendent of HR for Robeson County schools told the Fayetteville Observer. “In the best way to uphold the law that we don’t necessarily agree with, we wanted a policy to make it as fair as possible.”
A North Carolina Association of Educators lawsuit challenging the law is working its way through the court system. The union has been advising teachers not to sign the contracts.
Gaskins said he doesn’t expect many teachers to accept the four-year contracts.