A post today at the website Higher Education Works neatly cuts through the b.s. today on the issue of what North Carolina must do to address the shortage of quality schoolteachers – now and in the future:
Commentary: Teacher shortage? Pay them.
North Carolina faces a looming crisis – a shortage of teachers. But putting and keeping great teachers in the classroom isn’t rocket science.
Gov. Pat McCrory likes to point out that North Carolina is now the 9th most-populous state in the nation. The governor also talks about responding to the marketplace. Markets are about supply and demand. And as our population grows, the demand for education is not subsiding in North Carolina. Far from it.
Yet the market indicates that not enough public university students – or their parents – think education pays enough to justify a career in teaching. As North Carolina approaches 10 million people, enrollment in the state’s public schools of education is down 27% over five years. Enrollment declined 12% from 2013 to 2014 alone.
Ellen McIntyre, dean of the School of Education at UNC Charlotte, told the UNC Board of Governors recently that the crisis over teacher pay that ranks near the bottom in the nation has given would-be enrollees “a little bit of a pause.”
While a starting salary of $33,000 might sound acceptable to an 18-year-old, McIntyre said, “It’s their parents who don’t want them to go (into teaching). It’s their parents who are dissuading them from going into schools of education.”
Raises state legislators approved for teachers last year were tilted toward the bottom end of the pay scale. To his credit, McCrory supports raising starting teacher pay to $35,000. The governor also supports pay supplements for teachers with advanced degrees or who teach in high-demand fields or impoverished school districts.
“That’s adapting to the marketplace,” he said. “Sometimes the marketplace requires you to pay more to certain teachers if they’re willing to teach in areas where others don’t want to teach.”
Over the past year, a subcommittee of the UNC Board of Governors – which oversees the 17-campus university system – developed seven recommendations to improve teacher preparation in UNC system schools. They include: Read more