North Carolina's leaders have made a long and strong commitment to ending teaching as a viable career in their state, and teachers continue to get the message.
Just to recap. NC legislators tried to get rid of tenure, but there were these dumb laws and things that got in their way. Then, since they couldn't manage that, the plucky leaders decided to hold teacher pay hostage-- an easy trick because North Carolina teachers have been losing ground in both real dollar wages and, well, any other kind of dollar wages, for almost a decade. The legislature offered a deal-- teachers could have a raise (just one) if they gave up job security. They've also attempted merit pay, offering a big whopping $500 bonus for teachers of students with good test scores.
On top of all that, North Carolina has also instituted destructive classroom policies. NC is one of the states where we'll flunk your third grader if she can't pass the standardized test, despite a boatload of evidence that such policies do more harm than good. Plus, North Carolina has tried to become an Ohio-style charter school paradise with the kind of oversight-free approach that lets even the most obvious grifter strike it rich.
By spring of 2014, reports showed that the program to drive teachers out of NC was working well. It wasn't looking any better the following fall. NC is bad enough that to some teachers, Georgia is looking like a better option-- but when you're 42nd in teacher and plummeting regularly, that's what you get.
Well, here's a new report to let us know that things are still looking bad.
Station WBTV reports that teachers rallied at the state capital last week to speak out about the NC budget, which includes cuts to education money, resulting in various cuts including a possible 8,500 teacher assistants. The state's second-largest school district has seen almost 1,000 teachers resign for this coming fall. The state may be bleeding classroom professionals faster than any transfusion could hope to replace-- and no transfusion is coming soon, because enrollment in NC teacher training programs is down twenty percent over three years.
The report indicates that teachers are learning the fine art of one-to-one lobbying. It remains to be seen if they can make an impression in time to save the teaching profession in their state. It is true that teachers don't go into the profession in order to make money-- but we do like to make a difference, and we do like to make our bill payments. As long as North Carolina makes it more and more difficult for teachers to do either of those things, they will continue to be strong contenders in the race to the bottom.