The reviews on Berger's Budget are in and the verdict isn't good

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Newspapers from across the state are weighing in on Senator Berger's budget and the reviews aren't good. The Senate plan cuts critical classroom resources like teacher assistants, while forcing teachers to sacrifice job security for more money. It's an unfair bargain that the House and Governor should reject. 

Charlotte Observer, Forward, back on teacher pay

Now Republicans are trying to make teachers give tenure up “voluntarily” by dangling the pay increase in front of them. We’re not sure how the two – tenure and pay – are otherwise connected. Tenure offers teachers two primary protections – a hearing process when a teacher is being dismissed or demoted for any of 15 reasons that include poor performance and neglect of duty, plus a similar hearing process when a teacher is dismissed because of budget or staffing issues.

Both protections make it more time consuming and costly to fire teachers, but neither is costly enough to be paired with teacher pay, as Senate Republicans are doing. If they want to argue that teachers don’t deserve protection from layoffs that most of the rest of us don’t get, as Berger suggested Wednesday, that’s a legitimate and separate debate to have. But to finally give teachers the raise they’ve earned, only to make them give up the tenure they’ve also earned, is unfair.

Greensboro News and Record, The Pay Dilemma

The other down side to Berger’s plan is where the money comes from — exactly half from the elimination of teaching assistant positions. The state no longer would pay for teaching assistants in second and third grades. So a second-grade teacher accepting a pay raise would know it comes at the expense of her assistant’s job — and that she’ll have a much more difficult task without that assistant. This may be a policy of reward and regret.

The Senate budget makes other cuts that could have to be repeated in future years to maintain the higher teacher pay as more scheduled tax cuts go into effect.

The Daily Reflector, Senate Plan Irresponsible

Another reason it’s possible is because of deep cuts (more catches) the plan would make in other areas of support for education. Funding for teacher assistants would be cut by $233 million; the state department of public instruction would be cut by $15 million; no increase would be provided for textbooks; and school administrators would not see raises.

Teachers need and deserve much better pay. But as Hollywood has accurately portrayed, making “an offer they can’t refuse” never ends well for the recipients.

Fayetteville Observer, Lawmakers revive their teacher tenure obsession

One string attached: Tenure must die. Why? Can Berger find a single incompetent teacher whose job was saved by tenure? If so, let's tinker. But let's also preserve a system that ensures fair treatment.

By the way, where's the money to pay for these whopper raises? Steal it from UNC? Whack more teacher assistants? Pretend the Medicaid budget will be accurate? There will be some devils in the details, we expect.

We need to real pay reform that doesn't gut public education. Click here to sign the petition to raise teacher salaries to the national average.

 

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