RALEIGH — On Friday, the Associated Press reported that Wake County Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood has issued an injunction against a state law that would end career status, or tenure, for North Carolina’s teachers.
The law would end tenure and instead offer a bonus to the top 25 percent of teachers. Hobgood’s ruling stated that veteran teachers have “an established right to a layer of review” other than school administrators when they face firing. His ruling also said the law, passed by Republican lawmakers in the General Assembly last year, violates constitutional rights.
Abolishing teacher tenure “was not reasonable and necessary to serve an important public purpose,” Hobgood said in his ruling.
The Anson County Board of Education has discussed the issue at length in recent meetings. At the school board’s April meeting, Superintendent Michael Freeman said the administration was struggling with identifying the top 25 percent, although a rubric would be used.
At both the April and May meetings, Anson County Association of Educators president Dannie Montgomery urged the board members to do whatever they could to keep the law from going into effect in July. She praised the school board for standing behind teachers, but said she realizes they have to do what the state mandates. “Thank you for giving us the backbone to stand and fight in Anson County,” she said at the April meeting.
At the May meeting, Montgomery sought the school board’s support of a resolution opposing the law, which board chair Lisa Davis voiced support for.
After the news of the injunction broke on Friday, Senator Gene McLaurin (D-Richmond) issued the following statement: “We are facing a teacher pay crisis in North Carolina. The legislature foolishly cut funds to pay teachers. Now, many of our best teachers are taking second jobs or leaving North Carolina just to make ends meet. This is one of the primary reasons I voted against last year’s budget.
At best, this law would only benefit a quarter of our teachers — while leaving the rest behind. We can’t fix this crisis by pitting our teachers against one another. Most of our educators are excellent professionals who care deeply for their students. All teachers deserve a competitive salary and the ability to provide for their families. Our state laws have no business picking winners and losers in the classroom, and I hope to work with my colleagues in Raleigh to make education a priority and raise teacher pay to the national average. I will continue to work hard every day to achieve such a plan.”