NC teachers continue to leave for greener pastures
North Carolina school systems have consistently ranked among the lowest in the nation in teacher pay in recent years. The state legislature, however, has offered little to remedy the situation. Due to the low pay for teachers and low funding for schools in general, teacher turnover has reached an all time high of 14.8% over the past five years.
The latest warning sign at our distressed public schools? A report last week showing the teacher turnover rate has reached a five-year high of 14.8 percent statewide, and a 12-year high of 16.5 percent in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.That amounted to 1,420 of CMS’s 8,609 teachers for the 2014-15 school year. Departures for personal reasons – including dissatisfaction with teaching – have jumped statewide in the past two years.
Sure, lawmakers approved an average 7 percent pay hike for teachers in the 2014-15 budget year. This year saw them give a $750 one-time bonus, along with pay hikes for new teachers and some “step” increases for others.
That’s far from enough. Even with some of the biggest pay raises in the nation last school year, teachers in Wake, Guilford and Charlotte still rank near the bottom nationally in terms of inflation-adjusted lifetime pay, according to the National Council on Teacher Quality.
Walter McDowell, retired CEO of Wachovia Bank of North Carolina and the chairman of BEST NC, said in a recent press release of his own that the legislative session Berger is so proud of represents a missed opportunity to transform education in a state that ranked last in the nation in college and career readiness, as measured by ACT exam results.
The General Assembly’s modest education budget increases would be fine “if our schools were leading the nation and keeping pace globally,” he said. “However, in a global economy, failing to lead means you are actually falling behind.”