The General Assembly Has Teachers Looking Over Their Shoulders

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The General Assembly passed a law in 2013 that is still preventing teachers from having the workplace protections they deserve. The ability to be fired on a whim is not helping teachers and is more like an excuse to re-negotiate their contracts. 

Read the full editorial from the Fayetteville Observer here: 

The law, passed by the General Assembly in 2013, stripped teachers' ability to earn "career status" after four years of satisfactory performance. Lawmakers mischaracterized it as tenure, saying it prevented school districts from firing incompetent teachers.

The truth is, if school districts use it as an excuse to keep lousy teachers in the classroom, it's their own fault. The law specifically empowers administrators to fire bad teachers for reasons including poor performance, insubordination and immorality.

Lawmakers instead wanted to force teachers to renegotiate contracts every few years, so the schools could get rid of the incompetent ones. But since schools already can do that, what the new law really means is teachers have no protection against getting fired on administrators' whims. Keeping a teaching job can become an exercise in politics and teachers can spend a career looking over their shoulders in fear that they'll be sacked if they look cross-eyed at a hostile principal.

Surprisingly, Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper, who's running for governor, sent his top appeals lawyer to court Monday to argue in favor of the Republican-backed legislation. Lawyer John Maddrey repeated the legislative nonsense about the "career status" system amounting to "permanent employment."

As the teachers' association lawyer responded, if lawmakers really wanted to improve the quality of teaching in the state's classrooms, they could have raised the performance criteria teachers must meet to keep their jobs.


  1. Pat Smith's avatar
    Pat Smith
    | Permalink
    What does North Carolina have to offer that would attract new teachers? They are not paid for having master's degrees, no more longevity, no career status etc. No wonder well qualified young teachers are leaving for other states that appreciate their teachers!
  2. Elliott's avatar
    | Permalink
    You can also include a frozen salary for four straight years after receiving a step raise and no pay increases after year twenty-five.
  3. LFSchiro's avatar
    | Permalink
    I'm glad I worked in NY state my entire 38 year career. BTW in NY state, tenure is not a guarantee of a job. Tenure only protects a teacher by ensuring due process should an administrator decide to terminate him.
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