State Senate leaders filed legislation Monday (4/23) with a set of measures aimed at reforming public education in North Carolina. The Excellent Public Schools Act would make major changes to public schools, especially at the elementary level. Senate President Pro Tem, Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) the major sponsor of the bill, said the bill hopes to take a more strategic approach in resolving our education problems. “It’s time to stop constantly reaching for our checkbook and focus on reforming our playbook.”
Among the major provisions included in the plan: 1) provide struggling students in grades one through three with intensive classes and instructors to boost reading skills; 2) reward the most effective teachers with bonuses and merit pay increases; 3) employ teachers on annual contracts that are renewed based on performance; and 4) establish a Teacher Corps program that would give college students and professionals a more direct path to teach in schools that need most help.
In the coming weeks the Senate will be meeting with teachers, superintendents and parents interested to discuss the plan.