Despite what DPI and the NC General Assembly want to put forth as a positive narrative, North Carolina has a gaping hole of vacancies in our public schools.
On September 26, 2022 (one month into this traditional school year), there were well over 15,000 vacancies on TeachNC’s job search feature.
On April 7, 2023, that total is below 5,000.
So where did those 10,000 job vacancies go?
Were they filled?
Are they no longer being advertised because they were left unfilled for such a long time?
Were they removed intentionally to make the total look more appealing in order to hide the fact that many were never going to be filled because of the way that North Carolina treats its educators?
Was it just decided that since those vacancies had not been filled this late in the school year, that the duties were just being completed by others as extra work and then it was decided that saving the money from not having to pay for new educators could be used someplace else like tax cuts?
If they were filled, then there is a good chance that they were filled with an unqualified teacher. From EdSurge this week:
It makes reference to a Kansas State University study about teacher vacancies and under-qualified teachers.
“Tuan D. Nguyen, an assistant professor at Kansas State University’s College of Education, and his colleagues found at least 163,000 teaching positions nationwide are held by underqualified teachers. Another 36,500 teaching jobs sit vacant, according to their 2022 report.”
The data that NC was reported with came from the 2020-2021 school year. If you think that the pandemic ameliorated this trend, then many who work in schools would be in fierce disagreement. If anything, the pandemic has exacerbated this trend.
Only two other states had more vacancies at the time of the study: Florida and California. The totals in Florida have probably gone up considerably since then with DeSantis’s policies.
That’a not a flattering distinction for North Carolina.
Nor is this #4 ranking:
What makes this so much more stark is that North Carolina has more Nationally Board Certified Teachers than any state in the country.
Simply go to this site and compare – https://www.nbpts.org/support/in-your-state/.
National Board Certification is now the only way a teacher can receive a raise beyond what the state offers in salary (and mercurial local supplements where available). North Carolina no longer gives longevity pay to teachers or graduate degree pay bumps or even due-process rights. Throw in some unproven value-added measures like EVAAS, a stigmatizing school performance grading system and an absolute ignorance of the court-ordered LEANDRO decision all sprinkled with backward thinking recruitment plans and that might help explain the copious amount of vacancies in teaching positions.
And I can almost guarantee that the percentage of unqualified teachers in NC’s public school classrooms will increase because DPI’s plan to draw in teachers to the workforce seems guaranteed to turn the profession into a short-term contract job.
It’s hard not to see that the goal in North Carolina is to make teaching a short-term occupation for contract workers willing to just deliver prepackaged “curriculum” to students who cannot afford private schools or homeschooling.
It’s a push to make “unqualified” the new “qualified.”