The News Observer reports that the number of teachers leaving teaching in North Carolina has grown, and analysts suggest that it's only going to get worse.
"What a surprise," said nobody who was paying attention. The Tar Heel State has been doing its level best to let teachers know that their kind aren't welcome around these parts. The North Carolina legislature has tried to erase tenure, tried to give teachers a choice between job security or getting a raise ever (maybe-- because they didn't actually have a way to fund the hypothetical raise). And, of course, every year north Carolina teachers take a real-dollar pay cut-- unless they just started out and get the almost-adequate beginning teacher raise that the GOP pushed through.
On top of that, North Carolina has followed Florida in implementing the kinds of kid-unfriendly programs that can make classrooms extra-miserable, patterned on classics like Florida's "Just Read, Dammit!" program that tells eight year olds they're ignorant failures who must repeat third grade if they don't get a sufficient score on a badly designed standardized reading test.
Few states in the country can hope to match North Carolina in creating an environment that is openly hostile to anyone who hopes to build a lifetime teaching career there. Under current conditions, it's just not possible.
And so, teachers have decided to get the hell out.
North Carolina's political dimbulbs continue to ignore this. Thanks to a lower retirement rate last year, the full turnover rate took a slight dip downward. But the number of teachers leaving teaching in general and leaving teaching in North Carolina in particular continues to grow. And as one analyst points out, these figures are probably low anyway because they only cover through March and don't include everyone who made a decision to bail over the summer.
Wake County, the state's largest system, continues to lead the pack, with teacher attrition numbers that have at least doubled over the last few years. But Dallas Woodhouse, head of political group Carolina Rising that backs GOP Senate candidate Thom Tillis, thinks things are going great.
Teachers leaving the state is an issue, Woodhouse said. but Republicans
are dealing with it. The economy has to improve for teacher salaries to
improve, “and we’re seeing that now,” he said.
Of course, North Carolina loves its charter schools. Reports suggest as many as 170 opening next year, and why not. NC pols fight hard to preserve charters rights to operate with little or no oversight, even on something as simple as revealing what they pay staff. The special blend of rules has worked well for businessmen like Baker Mitchell, a gifted and well-connected charter profiteer.
For a flourishing charter picture, nothing could be better than a teacher shortage, because teacher-job-filler is cheap and agreeable. North Carolina is becoming a great place to be a TFA temp and the charter operator who hires her. For actual professional teachers, it's sadly true that nothing could be finer than to exit Carolina.