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Teachers' Ladder Enacted in N.C.

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Raleigh, NC--North Carolina's state board of education gave final approval this month to a $110-million career-ladder plan for public-school teachers, despite some educators' objections that the plan does not do enough to address the problems of the teaching profession.

The state board was ordered to develop the career-ladder plan as part of the school-improvement package adopted by the legislature this past summer. It will be implemented on a pilot basis in the next school year.

Five Career Steps

The plan, which teachers may opt into, provides for five career steps, with salaries increasing 10 percent at each step. Participants would spend at least two years on each step and would advance by assuming additional responsibilities and demonstrating superior teaching ability.

The plan will be tested in 16 school systems during the 1985-86 school year and will be expanded to all 142 districts the following year.

The career-ladder plan, a departure from the state's traditional practice of rewarding teachers based solely on years of service and the number of degrees they hold, is opposed by some educators, according to Cecil Banks, president of the North Carolina Association of Educators.

"Our main objection is that [the plan] does not take into consideration the core needs of the teaching profession in North Carolina," Mr. Banks said.

"Until we improve the teaching environment and increase the base salary to competitive, professional levels, we can have any career-ladder plan we want on paper and it's not going to attract teachers," he said.

'Work To Do'

In light of recent reports, such as "Beyond the Commission Reports: The Coming Crisis in Teaching," published by the Rand Corporation, educators in North Carolina had hoped that the career-ladder plan approved by the board would do everything possible to attract the "best and brightest" teachers, Mr. Banks said. But, he added, "there is a lot of work to do on that plan if we're going to meet that goal."

The plan adopted by the board is not "perfect," acknowledged C.D. Spangler Jr., the board's chairman, but he added that it is flexible enough to allow for improvements in the future.

"The plan, which I frankly am in favor of, is a continuing plan," Mr. Spangler said.--Raymond Lowery

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