Letters to the editor — Wednesday (9-3-14)
Teacher pay issue not solved yet
In a recent conversation with our excellent state senator, Gene McLaurin, I mentioned my concerns about the way N.C. teacher positions are being funded. There should be a simpler approach to determining teacher and administrator salaries.
I do not profess to be an expert in the complexity of the varied funding streams for the school system. I leave that to our financial officer, who is also in the ranks of the underpaid when compared to her services and ability to bring budget balancing options to the Board of Education. However, it does not take a mathematician or a top-10 company executive to realize that the funding streams need to be unified and made simpler. The need for a two-tiered approach that will address teacher recruitment and retention must be recognized.
I believe teachers become teachers because they love teaching. Why else would they enter a work environment with so much responsibility and so little financial reward? Thus, I do not believe you can buy a good teacher. However, after recruiting an effective teacher, you need to do what you can to keep him or her. Unfortunately, the implementation of the current 7 percent teacher pay raise only addresses the short-term issue of recruitment and does little to address the long-term goal of retention. The predictable result is that less affluent counties will become “training grounds” for new entries into the education system who, after a few years gaining seniority, will move on to systems that provide higher supplements. With supplements being a wild card in the deck, the wealthier counties will always be the winners.
To address recruitment, supplements could be used as signing bonus to recruit talented teachers, especially those certified in math and science. The second issue, retention, would require the state to implement a “pay for results” formula designed to reward effective teachers and deter keeping ineffective ones.
— Chuck Hughes
I like Burger King
With the news of Burger King’s possible move to Canada to merge with another business, I want to mention that Burger King is my favorite fast food restaurant. This is because for years they have had “veggie” burgers on their menu. I have asked other fast food restaurants if they have veggie burgers; the answer is “no.” So thank you, Burger King, for providing veggie burgers.
— Karla Swanson