NC teacher licensure revision plan goes to state board of education

State Superintendent Catherine Truitt

RALEIGH — At its next meeting scheduled for Nov. 30 to Dec. 1, the State Board of Education will take up a plan to revise the way teacher licensure is handled. 

The Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission (PEPSC) voted 9-7 on Nov. 10 to send a one-page “Blueprint for Action” containing 10 action items to the board.  A more detailed version of the proposal was first discussed during PEPSC’s Oct. 13 meeting. 

PEPSC was created in Sept. 2017 as a part of Senate Bill 599. The commission has 18 members that include various education officials from across the state, including N.C. State Superintendent Catherine Truitt. 

The blueprint would change the current method to calculate teacher pay based on continuing education and years of experience to one including continuing education and levels of licensure that tie in teacher effectiveness and evaluations.  

PEPSC’s blueprint includes four levels of licensure from apprentice through advanced. The levels are linked to teacher effectiveness that include components like principal reviews, student growth on state tests, and student surveys.  

The more detailed plan would increase educator evaluations and teacher supports as well as possibly raising starting teacher pay to $54,000. Advanced teachers could see an increase to $72,000. In addition, an apprentice licensure level could see pay ranging from $30,000 to $38,000. 

Some PEPSC members indicated they don’t agree on some of the changes to the system and a model that relies more on standardized tests as part of evaluating teachers.  

Noting to the upcoming return of the General Assembly for the long session, Truitt said “I think the last thing we want is for the General Assembly to move on without us and that is why time is of the essence.” 

North Carolina Association of Educators President Tamika Walker Kelly issued a statement focusing on teacher expertise and retaining educators of color. 

“We believe North Carolina needs a teacher licensure program that respects teachers’ expertise, rewards their time in the profession, offers support throughout their career, and recruits and retains educators of color in a way that reflects the demographics of our public-school student population,” Kelly said in a statement. “The ‘Blueprint for Action’ created by PEPSC falls far short of this goal, demonstrated by the committee’s narrow vote to even move their plan forward.” 

Kelly also said students are “more likely to succeed when they have more experienced teachers” and that the NCAE will continue to “urge the General Assembly and State Board of Education to reject any changes to licensure that will harm our public school workers, their students and our communities.”   

The State Board of Education is expected to vote on the Blueprint on Dec. 1. If approved, the plan would head to the legislature to decide what action, if any, will be taken. 

About A.P. Dillon 1253 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_