Assault on education could lead to educator shortages

9 Comment(s) | Posted |

While teachers are known for their patience, even they may not have the patience to tolerate the General Assembly's all out attack on public education. North Carolina no longer has the environment to attract and retain quality educators it once did. Stagnant pay, increasing class size, and the elimination of a teacher recruiting program may lead to teacher shortages if nothing changes.

From the News and Observer

As a consequence, North Carolina faces several critical challenges with respect to its teacher workforce. Since fall 2010, enrollment in UNC system teacher education programs – the largest supplier of teachers in the state – has fallen 28 percent, from 23,600 to 17,100 enrollees. The Department of Public Instruction’s teacher turnover analyses show that district-level teacher attrition rates increased from 11.1 to 14.1 percent over that same period. This means that North Carolina school districts had to fill nearly 3,000 additional teaching positions in 2013-14.

Drops in teacher education enrollments and increases in teacher attrition, combined with a growing K-12 student population, mean that North Carolina will soon face a shortage of teachers, particularly in hard-to-staff schools and subject areas. Schools will need to fill open positions with demonstrably less effective options.

Comments

  1. Melinda Zarate's avatar
    Melinda Zarate
    | Permalink
    As a teacher assistant of twenty years, I have personally witnessed the effects that the cuts to education have brought to our schools. Teachers are stressed and work long, long hours at night and on weekends to meet the curriculum in such a way as to reach all the different learning needs and styles of their students. I hear stories of spouses complaining of lost family time. Many teachers are counting of the days, weeks, years until they can retire or are seriously contemplating leaving education altogether to work in a different field, one in which they will be less stressed 24/7 and also feel appreciated for their efforts. Cutting the Teaching Fellows program was a grave mistake. The method the NCGA used to increase teacher pay in the last session was, in my opinion, breach of contract. Longevity pay should not have been taken away and then used as a "raise". My opinion is this: some members of the NCGA, in particular the Senate, have an agenda that will dismantle public education to the point that they can point and say, "Look, our public schools are failing your students. Let's privatize education." Sound ludicrous. A legislator in Texas has already proposed such in his state. These are NOT our elected officials. These officials are being elected by corporations, who through the group ALEC, pushes fill-in-the-blank bills in front of their faces in return for financial backing. We, the people, need to stop drinking the Kool-aid that says the government is taking away our rights and understand that it is corporate America that is behind it all.
  2. Melinda Zarate's avatar
    Melinda Zarate
    | Permalink
    As a teacher assistant of twenty years, I have personally witnessed the effects that the cuts to education have brought to our schools. Teachers are stressed and work long, long hours at night and on weekends to meet the curriculum in such a way as to reach all the different learning needs and styles of their students. I hear stories of spouses complaining of lost family time. Many teachers are counting of the days, weeks, years until they can retire or are seriously contemplating leaving education altogether to work in a different field, one in which they will be less stressed 24/7 and also feel appreciated for their efforts. Cutting the Teaching Fellows program was a grave mistake. The method the NCGA used to increase teacher pay in the last session was, in my opinion, breach of contract. Longevity pay should not have been taken away and then used as a "raise". My opinion is this: some members of the NCGA, in particular the Senate, have an agenda that will dismantle public education to the point that they can point and say, "Look, our public schools are failing your students. Let's privatize education." Sound ludicrous. A legislator in Texas has already proposed such in his state. These are NOT our elected officials. These officials are being elected by corporations, who through the group ALEC, pushes fill-in-the-blank bills in front of their faces in return for financial backing. We, the people, need to stop drinking the Kool-aid that says the government is taking away our rights and understand that it is corporate America that is behind it all.
  3. Tom's avatar
    Tom
    | Permalink
    As a taxpayer I am tired of the yearly braying of public school employees complaining about their pay, benefits, retirements, etc. It's past time you whiners go work in the private sector and live reality - no more than 4 weeks vacation time after 20 years, a $50k median income for those with college undergraduate and graduate degrees, workweeks routinely exceeding 50 hours with no overtime pay, 401ks that are self-funded with no employer matching, meager health insurance benefits partly paid out of that 50k income. And teachers ? Lavish retirements in the 50s age bracket, 3-4 months of vacation every year with summer, winter, Thanksgiving, Easter, Christmas holidays and other federal holidays, 7 hour workdays punctuated by "prep" periods that are akin to naptime for most, minor contributions to health insurance. You lie down and roll over by agreeing to teach one of the crappiest curriculums on the planet. Your reading programs are so poor 41% of your kids aren't reading at grade level even in 12th grade and many kids need remedial work in math, reading and writing when getting to college. I'd have a lot more respect for you if you all actually imparted skills and knowledge to the students, but you don't. So please stop bleating the same demands year after year and go find that dream job in the private sector - our students will thank you for leaving.
  4. Sally Ross's avatar
    Sally Ross
    | Permalink
    The gentleman who wrote the comment above is either delusional or has absolutely no idea of a normal school day. It would be outstanding to see everyone criticizing teachers in this state spend a day in a K-3 classroom, without an assistant, pull a little car rider duty, attend a meeting and perhaps a parent conference, then attempt to go home and prepare lessons for the next day. A 50 hour work week would be a vacation. Good luck finding teachers. A former student of mine is making close to my salary as a beginning teacher in Texas. I have three degrees and 24 years of experience. Unfortunately until people decide their children are an important investment we have not come close to seeing the potential decline in quality of our schools. Why would anyone want to work here when the citizens of NC demonstrate their regard for us as this gentleman has or by continuing to vote for candidates who value campaign contributions more than our children?
  5. Sally Ross's avatar
    Sally Ross
    | Permalink
    The gentleman who wrote the comment above is either delusional or has absolutely no idea of a normal school day. It would be outstanding to see everyone criticizing teachers in this state spend a day in a K-3 classroom, without an assistant, pull a little car rider duty, attend a meeting and perhaps a parent conference, then attempt to go home and prepare lessons for the next day. A 50 hour work week would be a vacation. Good luck finding teachers. A former student of mine is making close to my salary as a beginning teacher in Texas. I have three degrees and 24 years of experience. Unfortunately until people decide their children are an important investment we have not come close to seeing the potential decline in quality of our schools. Why would anyone want to work here when the citizens of NC demonstrate their regard for us as this gentleman has or by continuing to vote for candidates who value campaign contributions more than our children?
  6. Angel's avatar
    Angel
    | Permalink
    The gentleman above is definitely delusional and should check his facts before posting something so ludicrous. As a 15 year teacher, let me help him out. <br /> Dear sir, you spoke of the hardship I would endure if I actually had to work in the private sector and actually earn my paycheck. I believe it was a mere 50k for 20 years of service. I work as a public school employee and am a 12 month employed teacher with my Masters degree. As such my pay is a bit higher than an average 10 month teacher and even at that rate I still have not attained your median 50k. So much for me already having it so much better as a teacher. <br /> Let's see what else, oh yes. Vacation... I believe in the private sector after 20 years you get no more than 4 weeks of vacation that I assume you can take whenever you want. As a first year teacher you earn one day per month you are employed which gives you 10. Five you MUST use at Christmas and the other five you MUST use at EASTER. What if you want to take off any other days throughout the year? Too bad. Leave without pay. Oh yes, and you may NEVER take a vacation day while students are in school. Any vacation days you have accumulated you may only use on teacher work days. By the way, as a 15th year teacher I am not earning 4 weeks of vacation time a year. <br /> Next let us address this summer thing. Most teachers are employed 10 months out of the year. They get paid for 10 months. Many have to work part time jobs during the summer to make up for the missing income. Summer is not a vacation. It is unemployment. Sometimes it is necessary recovery time because of what we do every day the other 10 months of the year. <br /> Also, you seem to think that teachers work 7 hour work days. Most teachers in my school routinely work 8-10 hour days and many take home work. Those of us who advise clubs take students on overnight trips and work weekends. There is no overtime and no type of compensation for any of this other than the satisfaction of doing the right thing.<br /> As for my retirement, I've been investing into my 401k and that is not employer matched. I work hard at my job and I feel that I earn every benefit that I have been given and will be provided. <br /> If you believe our health care benefits are so great, please go online and check it out. As for me, I know I keep paying more and more every year and my co pays keep going up and my benefits keep going down.<br /> Many people, including yourself obviously, do not understand that one of the reasons teachers fight so hard for better pay and benefits for teachers is to KEEP and attract high quality teachers to the classrooms in NC. With low pay, no benefits and a hostile work environment, why would intelligent capable people want to work there? Where is that going to leave our students? <br /> As far as students graduating who cannot read on grade level and needing remediation, that is a numbers game. Politicians and school administrators are so worried about graduation rates and passing rates that they move students along and graduate students who lack necessary skills. Believe me... the teachers are not the culprits there.
  7. Cindy Vaughn's avatar
    Cindy Vaughn
    | Permalink
    Tom does not have a clue about the North Carolina Education System. I'm a teacher assistant and have been for 22 years. If it were not for dedicated teachers our kids would be in a world of hurt. All our government cares about is what goes into their pockets. I've seen teachers at school before and after hours giving of their unpaid time to help our kids succeed. As for salary, I don't know what planet you are from but I make about 20,000 and starting teachers make about 15,000 more than I do and I've been an assistant for 20 years. I think you need to do your homework and learn the facts a little more!
  8. Cindy Vaughn's avatar
    Cindy Vaughn
    | Permalink
    Tom does not have a clue about the North Carolina Education System. I'm a teacher assistant and have been for 22 years. If it were not for dedicated teachers our kids would be in a world of hurt. All our government cares about is what goes into their pockets. I've seen teachers at school before and after hours giving of their unpaid time to help our kids succeed. As for salary, I don't know what planet you are from but I make about 20,000 and starting teachers make about 15,000 more than I do and I've been an assistant for 20 years. I think you need to do your homework and learn the facts a little more!
  9. Peggy melville's avatar
    Peggy melville
    | Permalink
    NC teachers are not appreciated. I think all elected officials from city, county, state and Washington should be required teach for 1 month and be totally responsible to show how they can prove testing scores. Teachers gave to do so much other than teach. We need to find education as needed. All elected officials continue to say we do not have the educated workforce to bring industry to our state. How in the name of heck do they think we can ever have it if they do not find education at the level needed to accomish the task. More charter schools is not the answer. Wake up elected officials and learn more about the efforts teachers giving to our kids
    1. Leave a Comment