After This School Year, NC Won’t Have To Just Worry About Recruiting Teacher Candidates. It Will Need To Worry About Retaining Current Teachers.

That “slide” above is from a 2019 presentation about the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System (TSERS) Retirement Planning. 2019 was before the current pandemic.

It would be interesting and predictably disheartening to question LEA HR directors about how many calls they are fielding from veteran teachers concerning retirement and early retirement requirements and possibilities.

As a middle-aged veteran teacher, I have been asked if I was planning on retiring soon by people with whom I am barely acquainted.

And as a veteran teacher, I can say that many more older teachers are considering retiring whether it is “early” retirement or full retirement but done before originally planned.

Before this pandemic even started, this state was already facing a teacher candidate shortage – one that has been manufactured with “reforms” that have devalued the profession in ways that have teacher prep programs in our colleges and universities seeing a 30% drop in students. Programs like SB599 and Teach For America and TeachNC have not shown the ability to replenish that pipeline with career educators.

Now a bigger questions looms: What is NC doing to keep from having a massive teacher shortage next year?

Politicizing school reopenings, neglecting teacher input, massive workloads, and an NC General Assembly that won’t even pass a budget but cherry-picks stats to prop up a false narrative all are about to come to a perfect storm.

And the result will be a massive teacher shortage for next year.

Please remember that before the pandemic, most every school system was scratching to make sure there was a teacher in every classroom – DURING AN ECONOMIC BOOM.

So before all of these “education reform” groups start talking about what they will do about “recruiting” good teacher candidates, it might be better for them to ask, “What the hell is NC doing to keep veteran teachers in the classrooms?”

It starts by engaging veteran teachers. Honestly. And then maybe getting out of the way.

If they are not asking that question, then they already have shown where their priorities are.