An Even Bigger Shortage of NC Teachers Is On The Way
Fewer students are turning to teaching out of the major universities which translates directly to fewer teachers in all positions of K-12 and higher education. Low pay and incessant criticism of teachers are contributing factors to this trend.
Many school districts in North Carolina have trouble recruiting enough classroom teachers, and that problem is likely to broaden and deepen. The reason? The state’s schools of education are turning out fewer future teachers.
Enrollment in the University of North Carolina’s 15 such schools has dropped by 30 percent since the beginning of this decade. Historically, those schools have produced the majority of the state’s new teachers, so the drop promises a thinning field of newly minted teachers for the state’s elementary, middle and high schools.
“The challenge in hiring teachers is going to increase,” The News and Observer quoted Alisa Chapman, UNC system vice president for academic and university programs, as telling the board.
The U.S. Department of Education, which annually publishes a state-by-state report on teacher shortages, lists four areas of shortage in North Carolina – special education (a chronic deficit nationwide), middle and high school math and high school science.
To be fair, some recent years have seen a longer list of shortage areas in North Carolina. And many states are faring far worse than we are – South Carolina, for example, is listed as having teacher shortages in nearly two dozen subjects, from art to world education.
But the sharp decline in education school enrollment is a likely bellwether of greater shortages to come. The state board heard Wednesday that many districts are now having trouble finding not only middle and high school teachers, but elementary school teachers as well.