Teachers say new law will lead to "Hunger Games" mentality - WNCT

Teachers say new law will lead to "Hunger Games" mentality

Posted: Updated:
GREENVILLE, N.C. -

Has the "Hunger Games" invaded our schools?

Not the movie, of course, but its premise: competitors battling it out for the grand prize. In this case, that prize is a pay raise.

A new “Hunger Games” themed YouTube video by the North Carolina Association of Educators describes the new law as “teacher versus teacher in a fight for decent pay.”

"They’re out to get each other,” says Emily Klinedinst, a teacher and president of the Pitt County Association of Educators. “There's no helping each other. It's ‘One of us is going down. It's not going to be me.’ You know? And I just don't want to see that with teachers."

School districts have until June 30, 2014, to comply with a new state law, which says they must choose only 25 percent of their top teachers to get a four-year contract with built-in annual raises that total $5,000.

All other teachers will get one-year contracts and those who accept the raises would forfeit their tenure. All tenure would end in 2018.

It will be up to superintendents, senior staff and board of education members to choose the top teachers with little guidance from the state on which criteria to use when allocating the bonuses.

"We feel like it has the potential to be devastating to the morale of our teacher base,” says Brock Letchworth, public information officer for Pitt County Schools.

“Put yourself in the shoes of a teacher who's working alongside someone who received the pay raise, received a four-year contract and you did not. Yet you know that your qualifications may be right up there with that teacher. It certainly makes for an uncomfortable working environment."

The law says teachers eligible for the raise must have taught for three consecutive years and rate as “proficient” on evaluations. But Letchworth says at least 90 percent of Pitt County teachers meet those standards, which makes it tough to choose who gets the extra money.

"I think one of our hopes is that legislators will realize how ridiculous this is and something will be changed before this is supposed to go into effect,” he says.  

But state leaders say the law is meant to get rid of ineffective teachers, while rewarding the best ones.

"I think right now the only steps that we have [to reward teachers] are based on how long you've been in the profession,” says Eric Guckian, Gov. Pat McCrory’s senior education advisor. “And don't get me wrong, experience is important, but it's not the only thing."

“I think it should be about student achievement results, but it should also be about what are you contributing and how are you working in teams? How are we encouraging teachers to work in teams to bring about great results for kids?" he continued.

NCAE plans to file a lawsuit to challenge the elimination of teacher tenure. In the meantime, teachers worry implementation will transform schools in the worst possible way.

"Everything that we're about is collaboration, working together as a team,” Klinedinst says. “And is this going to pit us against each other? Is there going to be resentment against each other? Is it going to be competitive?"

Let the games begin.       

  • Don't Miss It!More>>

  • Ohio couple married 70 years die 15 hours apart

    Ohio couple married 70 years die 15 hours apart

    Saturday, April 19 2014 4:02 PM EDT2014-04-19 20:02:08 GMT
    A couple who held hands at breakfast every morning even after 70 years of marriage have died 15 hours apart.
    A couple who held hands at breakfast every morning even after 70 years of marriage have died 15 hours apart.
  • Costa Rican a celebrity after certified miracle

    Costa Rican a celebrity after certified miracle

    Saturday, April 19 2014 10:52 PM EDT2014-04-20 02:52:41 GMT
    On a warm spring day, Floribeth Mora was in her bed waiting to die from a seemingly inoperable brain aneurysm when her gaze fell upon a photograph of Pope John Paul II in a newspaper.
    On a warm spring day, Floribeth Mora was in her bed waiting to die from a seemingly inoperable brain aneurysm when her gaze fell upon a photograph of Pope John Paul II in a newspaper.
  • Astronomers spot most Earth-like planet yet

    Astronomers spot most Earth-like planet yet

    Saturday, April 19 2014 5:12 PM EDT2014-04-19 21:12:10 GMT
    Astronomers have discovered what they say is the most Earth-like planet yet detected - a distant, rocky world that's similar in size to our own and exists in the Goldilocks zone where it's not too hot and...
    Astronomers have discovered what they say is the most Earth-like planet yet detected - a distant, rocky world that's similar in size to our own and exists in the Goldilocks zone where it's not too hot and not too...
  • NewsMore>>

  • Hawaii is genetically engineered crop flash point

    Hawaii is genetically engineered crop flash point

    Sunday, April 20 2014 10:44 AM EDT2014-04-20 14:44:02 GMT
    You can trace the genetic makeup of most corn grown in the U.S., and in many other places around the world, to Hawaii.
    You can trace the genetic makeup of most corn grown in the U.S., and in many other places around the world, to Hawaii.
  • Divers begin pulling bodies from sunken ferry

    Divers begin pulling bodies from sunken ferry

    Sunday, April 20 2014 12:52 AM EDT2014-04-20 04:52:11 GMT
    The captain of the ferry that sank off South Korea, leaving more than 300 missing or dead, was arrested early Saturday on suspicion of negligence and abandoning people in need. Two crew members also were taken into...
    After more than three days of frustration and failure, divers on Sunday finally found a way into a submerged ferry off South Korea's southern shore, discovering more than a dozen bodies inside the ship and pushing the...
  • Everest avalanche a reminder of risks Sherpas face

    Everest avalanche a reminder of risks Sherpas face

    Sunday, April 20 2014 12:12 AM EDT2014-04-20 04:12:08 GMT
    The rescuers moved quickly, just minutes after the first block of ice tore loose from Mount Everest and started an avalanche that roared down the mountain, ripping through teams of guides hauling gear.
    The rescuers moved quickly, minutes after the first block of ice tore loose from Mount Everest and started an avalanche that roared down the mountain, ripping through teams of guides hauling gear.
  • Events Calendar

Powered by WorldNow

3221 South Evans Street
Greenville N.C. 27834

Telephone: 252.355.8500
Fax: 252.355.8568
Email: newsdesk@wnct.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.