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Teacher Recruitment And Retention

Position: In order to assure high and improving levels of student achievement, NCCBI supports creative efforts to recruit and retain high quality teachers, including substitutes, in the public school systems. We support the continuing use of lateral entry teachers into the profession as long as standards for such entry remain high. We also support efforts to supply teachers with the resources necessary to make the school environment safe for teaching and learning.

Explanation: For the foreseeable future, North Carolina will need to recruit an estimated 9,000 teachers per year. The reasons for this increased demand for teachers includes 1) school growth, 2) the number of teachers retiring each year, 3) the number of teachers leaving the profession for other career fields or to raise their own children, and 4) lower class size.

With this demand for teachers comes many challenges for the state and for local school systems. In 1998, the North Carolina General Assembly adopted guidelines for lateral entry that retained high standards for teachers. We support the lateral entry program and encourage the state to continue to look at new ways to encourage people to choose a career in teaching without compromising the current move toward having qualified teachers in every classroom.

Although pay has been an issue raised by some, the Excellent Schools Act provides for a pay increase schedule that brings teachers' salaries up to the national average in the next three years. We support continuing this plan for salary increases. Additionally, some local school systems are providing their own incentives to recruit teachers to systems that are facing particular difficulties in finding enough classroom teachers and teachers for areas of instruction that are becoming more difficult to find like math, science and special education. We applaud these efforts and encourage local flexibility in this area.

Additionally, the state should examine how we can "grow our own" next generation of teachers. Beyond the Teaching Fellows and Prospective Teachers Scholarships, attention should be given to programs like training teacher assistants to become teachers, and creating a statewide teacher cadet program in our high schools, and possibly our middle schools, that will begin developing potential teachers in much the same way we use tech prep courses and apprenticeships to develop other careers. Other programs such as Project TEACH, the Model Teacher Consortium, and the NC Center for the Advancement of Teaching should be reviewed with regard to their positive impact on promoting people to enter and remain in the field, and any additional needs and/or programs which will promote that goal should be identified and implemented.

A related issue has been the employment and retention of qualified and skilled substitutes, without whom achievement will suffer. The 1998 General Assembly took a commendable step toward addressing the problem by increasing substitute teacher minimum salaries to 65% and 50% of the beginning teacher salary for licensed and non-licensed substitutes respectively. The General Assembly should now adopt the previous recommendation of the State Board of Education by setting the substitute rates at 75% and 60% respectively. Additionally, to assure a high level of commitment and service, any substitute who serves in the same teaching position for more than 10 student days should thenceforth be paid at the beginning teacher salary level for as long as the substitute continues that teaching assignment.

Finally, schools as a safe environment for teaching and learning continues to be a concern. All efforts should be made by parents, the community and the state to ensure that teachers and students feel safe and that teachers are not discouraged from entering the profession because of safety concerns.

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Early Childhood Education
Full Funding for Mandates
Information Technology
Opposition to Tax Credits
Parental and Community Involvement
Stay the Course
Support for Community Colleges
Teacher/Administrator Preparation Programs and Facilities

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