Local School Districts Inconsistently Interpreting Law and Policies
Local school districts are coming to different conclusions about two issues: wearing Red4Ed messaging in the classroom and how to apply the 25% teacher contract / bonus requirement.
The New Hanover County School Board has just announced that teachers cannot wear shirts to school that explicitly say “Red 4 Ed” on them. They can wear the color red. The school board said they felt the messaging brought politics into classrooms, in violation of the North Carolina Code of Ethics for Educators. In Wake County, the wearing of t-shirts is discouraged because they do not meet the standards of professional dress. However, they allow classroom teachers to wear buttons saying, “Wear Red 4 Ed on Wed.” It is evident school boards are drawing different conclusions about the Red 4 Ed messaging.
In addition, there is not consensus among districts about how to apply the contract/bonuses requirement that was passed this summer. The law requires 25% of the teachers at public schools to be offered a bonus and four year contract. Upon signing the contract, they surrender their career status. It is unclear how schools should proceed if the 25% that are offered contracts decline to sign. The question was made more pressing when one hundred percent of teachers at Murray Middle School in New Hanover County signed a pledge that they will all refuse to accept the bonuses. The School Boards Association has issued guidance that does not require that 25% be placed on contracts if those in the initial 25% do not accept. A source at the General Assembly says that other school districts may opt to extend further offers if the initial ones are refused. Local school districts have some flexibility about how they will carry out the requirement, and it appears they intend to use it.
It appears educators are finding themselves in a fluid situation where politics is truly local; the interpretation of the statutes and application of policies will differ from district to district. All the more reason for this forum to exist. In the comments below, tell us how your districts are reacting to these issues so we all might be better informed of the shifting sands of educational policy in North Carolina.