Governor McCrory Announces New Career Pathways for Teachers Plan at NC A&T

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At 10 a.m. this morning in the NC A&T Alumni Center Governor Pat McCrory made fiver major announcements about budget changes to education in North Carolina.

  1. $3.6 million will be used to expand early childhood education
  2. Budget to double state funding for textbooks to $46 million
  3. McCrory will keep his promise of ensuring a base pay of $35,000 for every teacher in NC
  4. All NC teachers can expect to see and average raise of 2% in addition to their base pay
  5. North Carolina will pilot a new Career Pathways for Teachers (CPT) program as a long term pay plan system

All state employees in NC will also receive a $1,000 pay raise.

The CPT plan will provide bonuses to teachers who work in hard-to-staff schools or teach in STEM fields, a 10% raise to teachers who hold advanced degrees in the subject they teach, and a 12% raise for those with National Board Certification.

Teachers will also receive pay increases based on their years of service starting after five years.  The maximum base salary will be $50,000 for any teacher.  Teachers currently making over $50,000 will remain on their current salary schedule.  According to the CPT plan, no teacher will receive a salary reduction.

McCrory said that he doesn’t think it’s right that under the current system the only way teachers can make more money is to become administrators. “Some people are born to teach,” said McCrory.  CPT plans to reward teachers who demonstrate leadership.

McCrory seemed very excited about CPT and said that no other state has a similar program in place and that he hopes North Carolina will “lead the way.”

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“For years, teachers have suffered through little to no pay raises as the state had to endure one of the toughest economic recessions in generations,” said Governor McCrory. “The Career Pathways for Teachers framework reverses that trend with modest raises in the short-term, and a meaningful, long-term plan that empowers teachers to determine their own financial future while at the same time giving local school districts the flexibility to address the most pressing needs of their students and community.”

North Carolina is currently ranked 46th in the country for teacher pay, and McCrory hopes that the combination of short-term pay raises with the long-term CPT plan will make the state more competitive in attracting quality teachers. It seems as though McCrory is trying to apply compensation plan principles from the private sector to public school teachers.

While teachers exceeding expectations will be compensated under the CPT plans, teachers who do not meet expectations will not be eligible for pay raises.

School districts can start applying for funds for CPT during the 2014-2015 school year.  $9 million has been allotted for the Career Pathways Fund which will finance the three-year pilot program for CPT in eight different school districts. Budget Director Art Pope said that the money needed for the Career Pathways Fund is “already built in to the budget.”

Campus mourns slain student athlete

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The campus and greater community of NC A&T University have been stunned by the homicide of sophomore and Aggie line backer, Jermane Clark, who was shot late Tuesday night near his home on Stedman Street.

Students and neighbors have been placing flowers, balloons and letters near the spot where Clark was shot. Many of the items are inscribed with Clark’s jersey number, 52.

A local church held a memorial service for Clark on campus in an outdoor area known as Bluford Circle at 5 p.m. on Wednesday. Pastor Bill Russell leads the college ministry at One Church Assemblies of God and coordinated the event.

“As campus ministry leader, it’s saddening to see any student lose their life, especially to violence,” said Russell.

Russell said that many of the students in his ministry attend NC A&T and the some of those students knew Clark. On Tuesday night, he and some of the students were together playing the card game Phase 10 when word of Clark’s shooting started pouring in through social media outlets. The distraught students began to pray together and decided they wanted to host a similar prayer session on campus the following day,

Russell and students in the church reached out to campus ministries and announced the memorial event on Twitter and Facebook.

Brianne Alston, a sophomore at A&T and High Point native, was moved by the service and felt that the songs performed by the campus gospel choir “made the atmosphere more humble and honorable.”

The rain cleared just before 5 p.m. and about 200 students attended the memorial service. Members of the football team in attendance were very emotional and initially too distraught to speak. Eventually three teammates came forward to share memories of Clark and spoke about how he had a big heart.

The emotions of Clark’s death have been compounded by the stress felt by students in the midst of exams. Russell expressed sympathy for his students, “It’s very devastating because this is a hard time for our college students. They are getting ready to go into exams and finals, so the fact that they are hit with this during a time like this is very devastating.”

“The mood has been hectic,” said Alston. “All of this is happening at once.”

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Councilman Jamal Fox released a statement on Wednesday in response to the student athlete’s murder. “On behalf of Greensboro City Council, I would like to offer our deepest thoughts and sympathies to the Clark and the NC A&T families.”

Fox also voiced his commitment to make Greensboro a safer city through violence prevention and stated, “Greensboro residents have a right to be safe at home, at school, and in their neighborhoods. ”