Commentary, News

NC teacher turnover in the national spotlight, conservatives deflect blame

turnoverEducation Week is the latest publication to focus on North Carolina’s struggles to keep high-quality teachers in their classrooms.

In an article published earlier this week, editor Ross Brenneman spoke with the school superintendent of Graham County, the district that has bragging rights to the lowest turnover rate in our state.

Here’s her take on what works and what doesn’t work:

“Parents support teachers here, the community engages with the teachers here,” said Angela Knight, the Graham County district’s superintendent. “We really do have a small traditional community atmosphere, and [teachers] get invested in that, and they just want to stay.”

Where there is greater attrition, Knight recommended looking to the state’s legislature as a cause. “We’re having attrition because the education profession is not supported at all by the General Assembly,” she said.

Brenneman notes pay in surrounding states may be costing North Carolina classroom teachers:

Some North Carolina school administrators told Asheville’s Citizen-Times that they’re losing teachers to surrounding states like Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina; Texas has repeatedly mined the North Carolina teaching corps with the promise of higher salaries.

According to the National Education Association, both Georgia and South Carolina offer better average teacher salaries than North Carolina; Florida is roughly equivalent.

Education Week goes on to explain how conservatives leaders are doing their best to deflect this criticism:

In a memo on its website, the state’s Republican Party says that funding issues aren’t the state’s fault. “The fact remains that our county and city governments could choose to spend more on educating our children, but they don’t,” the unauthored post says.

But more than dissatisfaction over pay, there’s frustration among educators expressed in news articles, in editorials, and in blog posts that the legislature is trying to dismantle the state’s public education system.

You can read the full Education Week article here.

Click here to learn more about NC’s teacher turnover rate.

And finally, you can read the Department of Public Instruction’s full report on teacher attrition for 2014-15 here.

One Comment


  1. Kelley Morris James

    October 17, 2015 at 8:05 am

    Our GA basically exhibits one of the most detrimental diseases of our society…passing the buck and not accepting ownership of being part of the problem. They don’t mind taking credit for the positives of our profession but act like 8 year olds saying, “I didn’t do it!” when it comes to the negatives. Oh wait, the 8 yr olds at my school usually DO accept responsibility for their actions. Smh.

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