This morning the Senate Education Committee took up the Excellent Public Schools Act. The bill, introduced by Sen. Phil Berger (R-Rockingham), is the most comprehensive education reform legislation to be introduced in years.
The bill includes provisions to:
Eliminate Social Promotion. Improve reading proficiency with early intervention and assessment and ensure that students who enter fourth grade are reading at a fourth grade level
Adjust the School Calendar. Adjust school calendar to make it maximize learning opportunities.
Address Teacher Shortages. Establishes NC Teacher Corps to place recent and mid-career graduates in high-needs public schools.
Modify Teacher Licensure. Grants State Board of Education teacher licensure requirements and may require teachers meet a specific minimum score on standard subject exams.
Implement Performance Pay. Directs local boards of education to establish system of performance pay for all licensed personnel. If meet performance criteria, personnel would be eligible for bonuses or adjustments to base pay.
Eliminate Teacher Tenure. The bill eliminates Career Status teachers. All teachers would be employed by local boards of education through annual contract upon recommendation of superintendent. Teachers could only be dismissed or demoted during the terms of the contract for one of thirteen criteria already listed in statutes. If a teacher’s contract is not going to be renewed , the teacher has the right to petition the local board of education, but it is up to the local board of education as to whether to grant a hearing.
A Proposed Committee Substitute (PCS) to S 795 will be released on Friday. It will include additional changes. While education reform advocates enthusiastically support many of the bill’s major provisions, it is uncertain how far the bill will proceed. The bill may pass the Senate. However its fate in the House is uncertain. The short session will be dominated by the budget. In addition, fall elections make it unlikely lawmakers will want to engage in what is sure to be a long bruising battle to help change the shape of public education in North Carolina.
Interested in learning how North Carolina voters feel about many of the provisions included in S 795? Read the Civitas Press release