Last week’s disturbing news about an ongoing teacher exodus in North Carolina’s capital county (Chris Fitzsimon has the details in this morning’s “Monday numbers”) is rightfully provoking frustration and alarm in many places around the state. A couple of good editorials capture those emotions.
According to the Wilmington Star-News:
“At some point, the state, which pays teacher salaries, is going to put itself at risk of not having enough teachers to carry out its constitutional mandate on schools.
Our students deserve the best and brightest teachers. What is happening in Wake County, which is consistently rated as one of the top places to live in the nation, is not a good sign.”
And Raleigh’s News & Observer puts it this way in an editorial responding to last week’s press conference in Raleigh announcing the bad news:
“Michael Maher of N.C. State University’s College of Education also attended the news conference and offered a dire forecast for North Carolina’s ability to hire and retain good teachers. Fewer students are going into his university’s education program, and the state is going to have what he called a ‘pipeline problem.’
Teaching isn’t going to be a profession of choice because teachers, Maher said, get low salaries on graduation and carry high loads of student debt. In North Carolina, there is no more teaching fellows program to assist with loan payback, no tenure, no raises and less money for teaching assistants.
The message delivered Thursday in Wake County could be repeated in most of North Carolina’s school districts. McCrory and his teacher-bashing mates in the General Assembly now face a defining challenge for his administration: Will they step up to stop the teacher drain and prevent a teacher shortage, or will they let the state’s public schools wither away? Because the challenge is indeed that serious.