Teachers Ask Durham To Refuse Tenure Law, Sue The State

Feb 18, 2014

The North Carolina Association of Educators is organizing teachers and advocates to resist a state law that would require school boards to offer raises to the top 25 percent of teachers in exchange for giving up tenure.
Credit North Carolina Association of Educators

Some teachers and advocates with the N.C. Association of Educators are asking the Durham Board of Education to follow Guilford County's lead and decline to comply with a new state education law.

The General Assembly passed a budget that eliminates tenure in 2018. Meanwhile, school districts will offer the top 25 percent of teachers four-year contracts and $500 raises to relinquish their status.

Hillside High School teacher Nicholas Graber-Grace said the model is stacked against teachers with disadvantaged students, and it discourages collaboration among colleagues.

“If a teacher is offered a 25-percent contract, the teacher has a choice to make,” Graber-Grace said. “We’ve got hundreds of teachers have committed in Durham and thousands across the whole state not to accept those contracts.”

The Republican-led general assembly has budgeted for only the first year of incremental raises. Graber-Grace calls the plan a political stunt that doesn't help schools.

“Our kids deserve the best teachers that we can recruit and that we can retain,” he said. “And the state leaders of North Carolina need to invest in our public schools. Not just shift a few dollars around in an election year to make themselves look better.”

Graber-Grace says he hopes Durham will follow in Guilford County's footsteps. That county rejected the law and joined a lawsuit against the state.