Public school teaching in North Carolina has sunk into a crisis that it may not recover from, and the Republican leadership in this state bears the principal blame.
“We’ve disincentivized teaching pretty much on every level,” Sean Bulson, superintendent of the Wilson County public school system, told an NC House select committee on education. “All of the things that affect supply and demand in teaching are the things we’ve chipped away at over the last few years."
On Wednesday, State Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson told the same committee that teacher salaries need to rise ten percent to begin to repair the damage wrought by the recession (under Democratic rule) and which accelerated exponentially under The Gang That Doesn't Like Public Education.
Raise teacher salaries by ten percent, Atkinson told the lawmakers. A day later -- yesterday, to be exact -- House Speaker Tim Moore came before the same select education committee and told them to fuggetaboutit.
Meanwhile, on the ground in our actual schools, this is happening:
For the first time ever, according to Beverly Emory, superintendent at Winston-Salem/Forsyth schools, her district had 25 elementary school vacancies when the school year started.
Frank Till, Cumberland County superintendent, said his district started the school year with 50 vacancies. Affluent schools, where a job opening once would attract seven or eight applicants, are now “lucky to get one for some positions,” he said.There did not use to be any shortage of elementary teachers in the state. Now there are shortages at every level, because who wants to grow up and be a public school teacher in North Carolina, where your work is neither understood nor honored, where your higher degree will earn you nothing extra, where the legislative leaders signal their attitudes toward your job by continually looking for ways to siphon money off to private, unaccountable, for-profit enterprises that go under the heading of "schools"?
Until that bunch in Raleigh are retired, sent home, or promoted to higher elective office, where maybe they can ruin the entire country, our public schools are on virtual life support.