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Myrtle Grove Follows Murray Middle School's Lead in Seeking Exemption from New Education Laws

Wilmington's Myrtle Grove Middle School

Local educators are increasingly finding fault with new laws affecting public education. They say the state’s pay-for-performance compensation system will hinder collaborative learning environments, and that phased-out teacher tenure just strips teachers of their right to due process. Meanwhile, some legislators say the laws are meant to incentivize teachers and weed out the bad ones. In an effort to exempt their school from these measures, all of Murray Middle School’s teachers and support staff recently presented a signed petition to State Representative Ted Davis. Myrtle Grove Middle School is now following suit.

Myrtle Grove teachers are presenting their petition for exemption at Tuesday night’s New Hanover County School Board meeting. This is according to Spanish teacher Lucas McLawhorn, who says Murray Middle School’s action inspired him to mobilize his fellow educators at Myrtle Grove. McLawhorn’s petition primarily seeks exemption from the pay-for-performance system, which would award only 25 percent of teachers with small bonuses and employment contracts. 

"Our best teachers, most of our best teachers have said, ‘We don’t want this money.’ It’s pitting teacher against teacher, and instead of sharing ideas, we’re gonna be keeping our good ideas to ourselves and trying to be better than everybody else. If you’re a great teacher, you should open up and share that with everybody."

McLawhorn says several Myrtle Grove teachers will show up at Tuesday night’s meeting wearing red. He says these educators seek greater support from the School Board, and points to Brunswick County’s Board as a model.

"Brunswick County commissioners and School Board have said they’ll give $1,000 bonus to teachers that work in their schools, which is great. They’re saying, ‘Hey, we’ve got your back; we know you’re hurting right now,’ which we’re going to be speaking about to our school board and our county commissioners."

McLawhorn says Myrtle Grove’s petition is still in draft form – but 98 percent of teachers have already signed it.