RALEIGH — At its next meeting, scheduled for November 30-December 1, the State Board of Education will take up a plan to overhaul the way teacher licensing is handled.
The Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission (PEPSC) voted 9-7 Nov 10 to send a page”blueprint for action” with 10 action items on the board. A more detailed version of the proposal was first discussed during the PEPSCs 13 Oct meeting.
PEPSC was established in September 2017 as part of Senate Bill 599. The commission has 18 members, including various education officials from across the state, including NC State Superintendent Catherine Truitt.
The blueprint would change the current method of calculating teacher salaries based on continuing education and years of experience to one that includes continuing education and admission levels tied to teacher effectiveness and evaluation.
The PEPSC blueprint includes four license levels from Apprentice to Advanced. The levels are linked to teacher effectiveness, which includes components such as principal reviews, student growth on state tests, and student surveys.
The more detailed plan would increase educator ratings and teacher support, potentially increasing teachers’ starting salaries to $54,000. Intermediate teachers could see a hike to $72,000. Additionally, an apprentice license level could range from $30,000 to $38,000.
Some PEPSC members indicated that they disagreed with some changes to the system and a model that relies more on standardized tests as part of teacher assessment.
Noting the General Assembly’s impending return for the long session, Truitt said, “I think the last thing we want is for the General Assembly to go ahead without us and so time is of the essence.”
North Carolina Association of Educators President Tamika Walker Kelly issued a statement that focused on teacher expertise and the retention of educators of color.
“We believe North Carolina needs a teacher licensing program that respects teachers’ expertise, rewards their time in the profession, provides support throughout their careers, and recruits and retains educators of color in a manner that reflects the demographics of our public school student population” , Kelly said in a statement. “The ‘Blueprint for Action’ produced by PEPSC falls far short of that goal, as evidenced by the committee’s narrow vote to even go ahead with its plan.”
Kelly also said that students are “more likely to succeed when they have more experienced teachers” and that the NCAE will continue to “call on the General Assembly and the State Board of Education to reject any licensing changes made by our public school staff, their students, and our communities.”
The state board of education is expected to vote on the draft on December 1. If the plan is approved, it goes to lawmakers to decide what action, if any, to take.