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“Underpaid And Underappreciated”: NC Teachers Turnover Rates Rise

Source: WRAL

In North Carolina, investment in public schools has declined dramatically over the last decade.  Some of the deepest cuts made by the Republican-led General Assembly have resulted in worsening school facility conditions, lackluster teacher pay, and an ever-increasing staff turnover rate. 

According to a new report from the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), over 10,000 teachers left North Carolina’s classrooms last year, the highest 12-month total reported in the past two decades. 

An analysis by EdNC found that the overall issues fueling rates include:

  • Salaries and compensation,
  • Teacher preparation and entry,
  • Hiring and personnel management,
  • Induction and early-career support for teachers, and
  • Working conditions.

Some of the highest reported rates came from the Sandhills area of the state, with a 12.6% attrition rate, according to EdNC. This region includes Cumberland, Hoke, Montgomery, Moore, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson, Scotland, Columbus, and Bladen.

The school districts with the highest and lowest rates are Halifax County Schools and Yancey County Schools, at 18.3% and 4.2%, EdNC reports

“These numbers verify what everyone already knows to be true, public school teachers and staff are underpaid and underappreciated, and their departures impact student learning across the state,” Tamika Walker-Kelly, president of the North Carolina Association of Educators, said in a statement. 

Last year, the National Education Association ranked North Carolina 46th in the nation in beginning teacher pay and 34th in average teacher pay. 

North Carolina started the school year with more than 3,500 teaching vacancies, and the state’s most experienced teachers only saw a 3.6% pay raise, which does not keep pace with inflation.

“Our elected leaders, at all levels, must take a hard look at their priorities, because our students deserve a high-quality education, an excellent teacher, and a well-funded school,” stated Walker-Kelly. 

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