How the Left manufactured a teacher pay story

There has been a lot of talk about the proposed teacher pay plan introduced by Republican leaders last week.  The Left is outraged!

But weeks before McCrory, Forest, Berger, and Tillis introduced a plan that would raise the base pay of early-career teachers, a left-wing think tank reported that a completely different proposal, the NC 60/30/10 Plan, was “circulating among lawmakers and education professionals” and “making its way around Raleigh.” The author of the story did not identify these Raleigh-based “lawmakers and education professionals.”  Presumably  North Carolina Principal of the Year Dale Cole, who was identified in a follow-up story, was one of them.  (NB: Before publication of the story, I never heard of the NC 60/30/10 Plan or its creator, Lodge McCammon.)

The think tank’s story unraveled quickly.  McCammon later described his NC 60/30/10 Plan as a “brainstorming project” and pointed out that he did not intend for it to be shared publicly.  In fact, the version circulated by the think tank was an outdated draft.

And, in the end, it turned out that legislators proposed a teacher pay plan that included none of the features of McCammon’s plan.

As one education professional wrote shortly after publication of the original story, “There’s no indication that this is a formal proposal that has traction with state lawmakers.”  Indeed, in recent weeks, I spoke with several Republican lawmakers and various education professionals and none of them appeared to have any knowledge of the NC 60/30/10 Plan.

Public school folks were outraged and the mainstream media was at the ready. Reporters for WRAL, which is owned by a major backer of the think tank that published the story, dutifully asked Governor McCrory’s education advisor about the teacher pay plan.  He dismissed it.

The story even made its way to Diane Ravitch, who called it “the greatest insult to teachers ever cooked up in backroom.”  Ravitch subsequently praised the author of the original article, contending that she “reported on this pernicious proposal before the extremists in the legislature passed it into law.”  That’s a stretch, even for Diane Ravitch.

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