A new report by The Public School Forum of North Carolina highlights the ongoing challenges with teacher recruitment and retention across the state.
For years, school districts have struggled with the rise of teacher vacancies, declining retention rates and inability to recruit quality teachers due to Republican policies.
Decades of state Republican policies have resulted in lackluster teacher pay, classroom investments and support staff resources. In addition, state Republicans pushed measures that eliminated master’s pay and longevity pay, got rid of class size caps, and took away retiree health benefits.
Compounded with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and extreme far-right education agendas, schools across the state, and around the country, are experiencing a steady increase in teacher vacancies.
“It is crucial that we take action, not just for short-term relief but also for long-term sustainability,” Dr. Lauren Fox, Public School Forum Senior Director of Policy & Research, told EdNC. “This will require systemic and comprehensive changes to how teachers are compensated, supported, recruited, and valued.”
In collaboration with school districts and partners, The Public School Forum of North Carolina have developed new ways to effectively sustain and grow the teaching profession.
The six key findings include:
- Teacher vacancy rates and attrition are concerning across the board, creating a crisis that impacts districts of all sizes and settings. Districts with higher populations of students of color are most impacted by these trends.
- The number of candidates for teaching positions has declined significantly, and districts are having to hire less-qualified candidates to fill vacant positions.
- Lack of respect for the teaching profession and suffering teacher morale are contributing to persistent difficulties with recruiting and retaining top-quality talent. Low teacher pay amplifies and exacerbates these issues.
- The Praxis Core testing requirement is a significant and highly unnecessary barrier to entry for many seeking to enter the teaching profession, especially for teachers of color.
- Targeted recruitment efforts and new entry pathways for teacher candidates have shown some promise, but more support is needed.
- Many school districts have focused their attention on retention efforts in an effort to reduce teacher attrition and improve teacher morale.
“Our current crisis was not caused by a single issue, nor by the
pandemic alone. It’s the result of a variety of factors and must therefore be addressed with a variety of measures that fully respect and value our educators,” authors of the report states.
“We face a critical juncture, which offers a unique opportunity for North Carolina policymakers to make bold choices to restore and strengthen the profession for now and for the generations to come. Our students, educators, schools, and communities deserve it.”