“Guiding Principles” document shows Human Capital Roundtable’s desire to control PEPSC work on teacher licensure and compensation

Today’s merit pay public records release is a document developed for the Human Capital Roundtable (HCR) by Eckel and Vaughan and SREB called “PEPSC Guiding Principles.”

This March 2021 document was created after the Pathways to Excellence merit pay proposal the Human Capital Roundtable had drafted was turned over to PEPSC but before the PEPSC subcommittees began working on the plan.

The document lays out guardrails that are intended to guide the work of those PEPSC subcommittees, demanding “subcommittee members will refer to these guiding principles to ensure that the goals of this work remain in the forefront.”

Principles which subcommittee members are expected to abide by include maintaining the Human Capital Roundtable’s “output-driven” focus (meaning that scrapping the experience-based teacher salary schedule that NC and the 49 other states currently use is non-negotiable).


(You can see the original email this document was attached to here.)

Why this document matters:

PEPSC was created by state legislators in 2017 and given a vague mandate to “make rule recommendations regarding all aspects of preparation, licensure, continuing education, and standards of conduct of public school educators.”

The Human Capital Roundtable’s origins are much more murky, but it appears to have been dreamed up by SAS and the Gates Foundation.  The group is not authorized by state law to do anything at all, much less direct PEPSC’s work. 

After HCR drafted the Pathways to Excellence merit pay proposal, gave it to PEPSC to serve as the foundation of subcommittee work, and (apparently) imposed parameters on subcommittees, SREB and Eckel and Vaughan wanted the group to retreat back into the shadows and pretend it had nothing to do with the plan.

In April 2022, Eckel and Vaughan sent this memo to Human Capital Roundtable members, advising them to say “We are not experts on PEPSC’s proposal. We are simply following PEPSC’s work and support its foundational ideals” as if all of this were PEPSC’s idea.


Nothing could be further from the truth.  

Not only was this proposal created by the Human Capital Roundtable, PEPSC subcommittees have been prevented from making significant changes to the model.  

In a statement released last month, the NC Colleges of Teacher Education voiced concern about just that:

From the beginning, the proposal seemed to be driven by DPI personnel. Right or wrong, DPI  personnel became the “go to” people to interpret the proposal, answer questions, take  minutes, schedule meetings, and synthesize the feedback. It was clear that DPI personnel had  been involved in the Human Capital Roundtable meetings and had been tapped as the ones  now to push it through. At the first subcommittee meetings, members were told in explicit  terms that their role was not to change the proposal but only to figure out a way to implement  it. What was the point in even holding subcommittee meetings if no feedback for potentially  improving the model would be accepted? 

This might be a good time to mention that Department of Public Instruction Director of Educator Recruitment and Support Dr. Tom Tomberlin–who often acts as if he’s the facilitator of PEPSC subcommittee meetings–is a member of the Human Capital Roundtable.

It’s unclear what the final version of “Guiding Principles” looked like, how HCR’s demands were communicated to PEPSC, and how they were received.

That’s because the vast majority of the documents the Human Capital Roundtable generated during more than three years of behind-closed-doors meetings going back to December 2018 are still being withheld from the public by SREB, the group that oversaw and facilitated HCR’s work.

SREB has even gone so far as to lie about the existence of records (see images below).

Because SREB is withholding these records, instead of having a complete picture of how this teacher licensure/compensation reform proposal was developed, North Carolinians have to rely on a combination of Eckel and Vaughan’s slimy marketing and the documents I’m able to scrounge from a handful of sources–documents which often paint a very different picture from the one being presented publicly by Eckel and Vaughan, DPI, SREB, and the State Board of Education.

If you believe SREB should release the Human Capital Roundtable records, you can contact North Carolina’s members of SREB’s Legislative Advisory Council and State Board of Education chair Eric Davis below and urge them to use their influence to bring us the transparency we deserve.


SREB Project Manager absurdly claiming HCR never took notes
The same SREB Project Manager informing HCR members about meeting notes

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