North Carolina stops paying teachers more for a master’s degree

The Wall Street Journal reports that North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed a budget bill Friday that eliminates teacher tenure and—in a rare move—gets rid of the automatic pay increase teachers receive for earning a master’s degree. The legislation targets a compensation mechanism that is common in the U.S., where teachers receive automatic pay increases for years of service and advanced degrees.

Although a few other states have talked about doing away with the automatic pay increase for advanced degrees, experts say North Carolina is believed to be the first state to do so.

A number of studies have shown that teachers with advanced degrees don’t, necessarily, produce higher student achievement than teachers who hold only a bachelor’s.  Other studies have shown an advantage to holding a master’s in math and the sciences for high-school teachers.  About 28% of North Carolina teachers hold master’s degrees.  A 2012 study by a researcher from the University of Washington’s College of Education found that the nation spent about $14.8 billion on the master’s bump for teachers in the 2007-2008 school year.

The budget bill also eliminates tenure for elementary and high-school teachers and freezes teacher salaries for the fifth time in six years.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, 7/30/ 2013, by Stephanie Banchero and Meredith Rutland

 

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