Governor Pat McCrory has a teaching degree. His grandmother was a teacher and his sister taught for 20 years in Wake County. He says frequently that he respects the profession and that teachers are the most important part of the state’s public education system.
The Governor continued that line of praise in his speech at the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce’s Education summit.
“I have a great admiration for teachers and they have a greater challenge than any of us have in this room at this point in time,” he said.
Outside the Sheraton Hotel, protesting teachers, like Danial Nijhout-Rowe, a physics and math teacher from Northern High School in Durham, weren’t feeling the love.
“I’m one of these innovators, I think, one of these good teachers, but at the same time I’m receiving all of the same things that this state legislature has done,” he says.
What the State Legislature has done, and McCrory signed last week, is pass a budget that cuts thousands of teacher assistant jobs and eliminates the salary increase that went to teachers who earned a master’s degree.
McCrory defended the budget in his speech, saying it spent more on education than last year’s budget and that unexpected costs in Medicaid prevented the state from giving teachers raises.
He also outlined a new program that would create more digital classrooms and launch a statewide system of “master teachers” who best implement career-and-college ready standards.
“Under this program teachers will not only be teaching students, they will be schooling us in the most important subject in education and that is: what works actually in the classroom,” McCrory said.
The Education Innovation Fund would pay one thousand teachers a stipend of $10,000 each to serve as “master teachers.” McCrory said he would be asking the Obama Administration sometime this month to fund the $30 million.