“America Is Losing Its Teachers at a Record Rate” – Raleigh is a Big Part of This Problem

Remember, we were one of the states that marched and demonstrated last spring.

One of the most overused electioneering blurbs used by many incumbent lawmakers in North Carolina this past election cycle was that our state has given the highest percentage “average” pay raise to teachers in the last four years.

Lawmakers like Tim Moore and Phil Berger point to raises given mostly to the lower rungs of the pay scale and then boast that the “average” pay raise for all teachers is now higher. And with all of that NC is still %16 percent behind the national average.

Lawmakers like Tim Moore and Phil Berger also point to the NC teacher average salary as being over $53,000 for the first time ever and shout about how that is a sign of their commitment to teachers. What they forget to tell you is that in that figure are local supplements that they do not contribute to and the salaries of all of the veteran teachers who have the very graduate degree pay that was abolished for newest teachers.

In fact, with the current teacher salary scale that has been passed for this year, there is no way to sustain that average salary, especially after veteran teachers begin to retire or leave the profession.

So when the Wall Street Journal reports that teachers are leaving the profession at the highest rates since the Great Recession, it makes sense. Especially in NC.

In fact, many news outlets reported on it.

From Fortune in the December 28th report “America Is Losing Its Teachers at a Record Rate”:

Frustrated by little pay and better opportunities elsewhere, public school teachers and education employees in the United States are quitting their jobs at the fastest rate on record.

During the first 10 months of the year, public educators, including teachers, community college faculty members, and school psychologists, quit their positions at a rate of 83 per 10,000, Labor Department figures obtained by The Wall Street Journal show. That’s the highest rate since the government started collecting the data in 2001. It’s also nearly double the 48 per 10,000 educators who quit their positions in 2009, the year with the lowest number of departures.

According to the report, teachers are leaving for a variety of reasons. Unemployment is low, which means there are other, potentially more lucrative opportunities elsewhere. Better pay, coupled with tight budgets and, in some cases, little support from communities could also push educators to other positions.

From Axios on Dec. 28th:

Teachers and public education employees in the U.S. quit at the fastest rate ever recorded in 2018, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The big picture: Historically low unemployment could be the cause, as Americans expect “they can find something better,” per the Journal. But there were also a string of teacher protests around the country this year over pay and poor conditions. 83 of every 10,000 public educators quit in the first 10 months of 2018, which is the highest rate since records began in 2001, the Journal notes.

While those reports talk about the nation as a whole, NC is no different. In fact, if one looks at what has happened in the past few years, one could make the argument that lawmakers in Raleigh want to have this teacher shortage.

It would create a less-expensive teacher workforce who will all have no career-status or little chance to earn over $50K a year in the current salary schedule.

It would create a less vocal teacher force because teachers will have no due-process rights and would not be able to speak up for public schools.

And a profession that will have high turnover and less respect will be more easily controlled; therefore, outcomes can be more controlled and the need for profiteering reforms becomes a self-fulfilled prophecy.

In fact, North Carolina might have been the biggest laboratory for ALEC-aligned “reform” in the past six years.

But just focus on teacher turnover and the shortage that the Wall Street Journal first reported. And then look at this:

295 to teach3

There is one of these signs in Winston-Salem on Highway 52 going south toward Lexington. It’s literally right past Winston-Salem State University which has a very good teacher preparation program.

Winston-Salem also has three other institutions of higher learning that train teachers: Salem College, Piedmont International, and Wake Forest University. In fact, public schools within ten miles of that very billboard will have student teachers from all of those schools and from App State and UNCG this spring.

And we need SB599 (Chad Barefoot’s insulting bill) to fulfill teacher shortages?

It is not coincidental.

It’s a deliberate plan.

That hopefully will change with the removal of the supermajorities in Raleigh.