North Carolina’s teachers are dedicated and hardworking, and their professionalism has made our public school system a jewel among Southern states. North Carolina leads the nation in number of teachers who have earned certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Disappointingly, we do not compensate our educators accordingly. The average teacher salary was $53,975 for 2018-19, according to the NEA, $7,755 less than the national average of $61,730.
It is also critical to remember that this average includes the salaries of veteran teachers who receive longevity and master’s pay, which newer teachers do not. With reduced job security, low pay and no incentive to get advanced degrees, the appeal of a teaching job has been significantly reduced in North Carolina.
Enrollment in undergraduate education programs across the UNC system is down, negatively impacting our once vibrant teacher pipeline. There are 15 UNC system schools with teacher preparation programs, and all are reporting declines in enrollment in their degree and licensure programs. The severe shortage of math and science teachers and middle school teachers for all subjects is a critical and growing problem.
As the WestEd report shows, we must work to provide a qualified and well-prepared, and diverse teaching staff in every school. For our students living in poverty, with little access to educational opportunities, an effective, experienced and qualified teacher is critical to their educational success. We must all work together to make this a reality.
We know that teachers and students depend on and benefit from our school support staff. These hardworking, valuable, dedicated individuals have been left out of pay increases for far too long. It is imperative we press lawmakers to pay them a living wage and start showing them the respect they deserve!
Leandro: A Recap
If you’re just tuning in, here’s a brief summary of Leandro and the recently released WestEd report. You can find more information on our website.
In 1994, in Leandro v. State, parents, students and school districts in low-wealth, rural counties filed a lawsuit alleging that students in these counties were denied their right to a sound basic education under the NC constitution.
The case affirmed that inequitable and inadequate school funding bars access to a sound and basic public education. In 2002, the court found that there was a violation of students’ rights to a sound, basic education and ordered the State to remedy this violation.
On December 10, 2019, the WestEd report was finally released confirming what educators and public school advocates believe: our public school system does not meet the educational needs of all children. High poverty, high needs school districts bear the brunt of these inequities.
The report estimates the state will need to spendnearly $7 Billion to properly address education funding. The report detailed the following critical needs. Over the next several weeks, we will be taking a deeper dive into each one.
1. Revise the state funding model to provide adequate, efficient, and equitable resources.
2. Provide a qualified, well-prepared, and diverse teaching staff in every school.
3. Provide a qualified and well-prepared principal in every school.
4. Provide all at-risk students with the opportunity to attend high-quality early childhood programs.
5. Direct resources, opportunities, and initiatives to economically disadvantaged students.
6. Revise the student assessment system and school accountability system, and statewide system of support for the improvement of low-performing and high-poverty schools.
7. Build an effective regional and statewide system of support for the improvement of low-performing and high-poverty schools
8. Convene an expert panel to assist the Court in monitoring state policies, plans, programs, and progress.
What happens next? Public education advocates are waiting to see if: 1) Judge Lee will order the NCGA to fund WestEd recommendations and/or 2) Will the NCGA take action on their own to fund the recommendations? Stay tuned!
Impact of Charter Schools Webinar
Sun, Jan 19, 2020 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM EST
Join us for an in-depth look at the impact of charter schools on the Northeast school districts in Wake County. Our panelists are the Wake Board of Education representatives for Northeast Wake County: Roxie Cash and Heather Scott. They will share data on Northeast Wake Schools and participate in a conversation about how to best balance school choice in public education without damaging the economic vitality of traditional public schools in the same geographic area.
The House and Senate are scheduled to reconvene January 14. Will they finally vote on a budget?
Leandro #2nd Recommendation: Teachers Critical to Student Success
Before winter break, WestEd released their report on the Leandro case. The report outlined 8 critical needs the state must address in order to fulfill its constitutional obligation to deliver a sound, basic education to all children.
The second critical need identified by the WestEd report is to provide a qualified and well-prepared, and diverse teaching staff in every school. Working conditions and staffing structures should enable all staff members to do their job effectively and grow professionally while supporting the academic, personal and social growth of all their students.
Highlights of Findings
#1 Teacher supply is shrinking and shortages are widespread. Budget cuts have reduced the total number of teachers employed in North Carolina by 5% from 2009 to 2018 even as student enrollments increased by 2% during that same time period.
#3 Experienced, licensed teachers have the lowest annual attrition rates. Teach for America teachers, on the other hand, had the highest attrition rates. National trends show that teachers without prior preparation leave the profession at two to three times the rate of those who are comprehensively prepared.
#4 Teacher demand is growing, and attrition increases the need for hiring. The total number of openings, including those for teachers who will need to be replaced, is expected to be 72,452 by 2026.
#5 Salaries and working conditions influence both retention and school effectiveness. Teacher attrition is typically predicted by the following 4 factors:
The extent of preparation to teach
Extent of mentoring and support for novices
The adequacy of compensation
Teaching and learning conditions on the job
The report explained that teacher pay, after climbing for many years, began falling in 2008. Findings also show that the amount of the local supplement paid to teachers does influence retention.
#6 Although there has been an increase in the number of teachers of color in teacher enrollments, the overall current teacher workforce does not reflect the student population. Many teachers of color enter through alternative routes, which have higher rates of attrition than more comprehensive paths. Additionally, teacher education enrollments dropped by more than 60% between 2011 and 2016 in minority-serving institutions.
#7 Disadvantaged students in North Carolina have less access to effective and experienced teachers.
For students who come from under served populations, an effective, experienced and qualified teacher is even more critical to their educational success.
Recommendations: 1.Increase pipeline of diverse, well-prepared teachers who enter through high-retention pathways and meet the needs of the state’s public schools.
2.Expand the NC Teaching Fellows program.
3.Support high-quality teacher residency programs in high-need rural and urban districts through a state matching grants program that leverages ESSA title II funding.
4. Provide funding for Grow-Your-Own and 2+2 programs that help recruit teachers in high-poverty communities.
5.Significantly increase the racial-ethnic diversity of the North Carolina teacher workforce and ensure all teachers employ culturally responsive practices.
6. Provide high-quality comprehensive mentoring and induction support for novice teachers in their first 3 years of teaching.
7. Implement differentiated staffing models that include advanced teaching roles and additional compensation to retain and extend the reach of high-performing teachers.
8. Develop a system to ensure that all North Carolina teachers have the opportunities they need for continued professional learning to improve and update their knowledge and practices.
9. Increase teacher compensation and enable low-wealth districts to offer salaries and other compensation to make them competitive with more advantaged districts.
It is anticipated the recommended actions would result in:
Increased number (5,000 annually) of in-state trained and credentialed teachers
Increase in teachers of color in the teacher workforce to better reflect the student population (from 20% to 40%)
Comprehensive mentoring and induction support provided for all first-, second-, and third-year teachers (approximately 15,500)
Competitive teaching salaries in all North Carolina LEAs
Teacher attrition statewide at 7% or lower
Increased number (annually 1,500) of Teaching Fellows awards
Increase in experienced, effective, and certified teachers in high-poverty schools
Improved teacher retention in high-poverty schools
Improved capacity in districts and schools to provide high-quality, job-embedded professional learning
We must restore our teacher pipeline and make teaching a viable, attractive option for students considering career paths. The state must work to restore adequate teacher pay and support. It is also crucial that our teachers reflect the diversity of their classrooms. It will require lawmakers to work together to prioritize adequate funding public education.
This is where you can help. Talk to your community about the importance of this report! Tell your representatives in the NCGA how important it is to fully fund schools for all children. Stay tuned for more advocacy ideas from us and our partners in education advocacy!
There has been a great deal of research in the past few years showing the many benefits of a diverse educator workforce. The benefits are both academic and socioemotional and prepare students for the world they will be working and living in.
An article from the New York Times states “The homogeneity of teachers is probably one of the contributors, the research suggests, to the stubborn gender and race gaps in student achievement: Over all, girls outperform boys, and white students outperform those who are black and Hispanic.”
There are increasing numbers of students of color in our public schools, but the teaching force is still comprised of mostly white women. It is crucial that our state work to make teaching an attractive, tenable option once again and work towards diversifying our teaching staff.
Early Childhood Grant
The preschool years of a young child’s life are a crucial time in their social, emotional and cognitive development. A high-quality early education program sets up children for academic success.
The PDG grant invests in the people who shape young children’s healthy development – parents and early childhood professionals. It will help early childhood teachers build the skills needed to support children’s optimal development without having to leave the classroom. By providing job-embedded professional development and coaching, the grant removes barriers that make it difficult for teachers to pursue higher education.
In addition, the grant funds a partnership with the Smart Start network to expand access to Family Connects, a nurse home visiting program for parents of newborns; support for families as their children transition into kindergarten; and expanded access to high-quality child care for infants and toddlers. This is the state’s second PDG grant. In 2018, the NCDHHS was awarded a one-year $4.48 million PDG planning grant.
Read the full press release here and view the North Carolina Early Childhood Action Plan here.
Public Schools First NC, the NC Parent Teacher Association, the Public School Forum of North Carolina, and the NC League of Women Voters are pleased to co-sponsor a candidate’s forum for the March primary for NC Superintendent of Public Instruction. This live screening will be held on February 6th, 2020 from 7 PM – 9 PM.
David Crabtree, WRAL anchor/reporter, will moderate the forum. The Republican primary candidates will be presented from 7pm-8pm and the Democratic primary candidates will be presented from 8pm-9pm.
We will be streaming the forum LIVE (provided by WRAL). You will find the link at wral.comcloser to the event. Please note that this a livestreaming event only, NO TICKETS available to the public.
We look forward to a stimulating exchange of ideas about the issues facing public education and hope you’ll join us.