Ads lure NC teachers to Virginia

Posted January 26, 2014

Low morale and no pay increases within the past five years have contributed to an increase in teachers leaving North Carolina schools.

But Virginia wants them.

The Western Virginia Public Education Consortium is advertising an upcoming two-day teacher recruitment fair in community newspapers across North Carolina.

The classified ad announces vacancies in 17 Virginia school districts.

The ads come as Gov. Pat McCrory recently announced increasing teacher pay as part of his 2014 agenda, vowing to push the issue during the upcoming legislative session. Pay raises have already been authorized for employees in high-demand professions such as medicine, accounting, auditing and information technology. About 1,200 nurses and 600 law enforcement employees will receive increases ranging from 4 to 10 percent.

“Teachers in North Carolina had one raise in the last five or six years, and that is unacceptable to me, and unacceptable to the Legislature and unacceptable to the people of North Carolina,” McCrory said.

Education professionals have taken a “wait and see” approach to McCrory’s promise.

“Teachers remain skeptical about how we’re going to get there, when we’re going to get there and what it will look like,” said Rodney Ellis, president of the North Carolina Association of Educators during a recent appearance on WRAL’s On the Record. “We’re anxious to see what the governor has in mind.”

Teacher pay

Teacher pay has been a hot issue in recent years and was highlighted during a number of protests last year. Thousands of teachers sporting red shirts traveled from across the state to Raleigh in July for one of the weekly “Moral Monday” protests. Their presence created one of the largest such protests of the year as educators rallied for increased teacher pay among other educational topics.

Melissa Russell-Ausley didn’t attend that rally but the Johnston County high school teacher wore red in support.

“It is alarming and shameful the number of teachers whose children are on free and reduced lunch,” she said.

Russell-Ausley isn’t surprised by the Virginia recruiting effort.

“They’re poaching the best and brightest of our talent, and right now it’s prime picking because they know we’re unhappy,” she said.

State education leaders have cited pay as a reason why teachers are either working in other states or leaving the profession. North Carolina’s teacher turnover rate was 14.33 percent in 2012-13, an increase from 12.13 percent in 2011-12, according to a North Carolina Department of Public Instruction report.

"The statistics that trouble me are the hundreds of educators who left their jobs in 2012-13 to teach in another state or resigned because they were dissatisfied with teaching or wanted a career change,” state Superintendent June Atkinson said in December. “I am concerned that if changes are not made, low pay and a lack of support will push even more educators out of North Carolina classrooms and the teaching profession."

North Carolina teacher salaries ranked 49th in the nation in 2011-12 with an average pay of $45,947, according to the National Education Association. Virginia ranked 31st with an average pay of $50,574.

“I think it’s very strategic and very targeted,” said Mark Jewell, NCAE vice-president, of the ads.

A similar ad lured Jewell to North Carolina nearly 17 years ago.

“Bottom line, teachers do have to pay their bills,” he said.


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  • Mods Hate Me Jan 30, 2014

    Too much is spent on overpaid non-essential administrative staff and not to the deserving teachers. At my children's elementary school, the principal has her full group of administrative "staff" (more like her group of friends, complete with their own special "staff" parking spaces). This "staff", including the principal and vice principal, do literally nothing in our school. Every complaint falls on deaf ears and is funneled right back to the teaching staff who is unequipped to handle many of the issues. This isn't necessarily the case in every school as our previous school had a much better principal. That said, even that school had an overabundance of administrative staff and not enough qualified teachers.

  • AppStgrad Jan 28, 2014

    I think the point is that those living in bordering counties or 1 county over may not have to relocate. Adding 10-15 minutes to their commute without having to uproot their family or make any major changes could provide them with some much needed and well deserved financial security.

  • Krimson Jan 28, 2014

    View quoted thread

    When you are short-sighted, this how you think... When you are long-sighted, you look at thousands of dollars over a careers that can span decades... Tell us again what kind of skills we don't need???

  • glarg Jan 28, 2014

    Anyone who thinks that they will be ahead of the game after moving expenses, relocation hassles and the expense of much of the Virgina market displays the kind of math skills that we dont need.

  • Plenty Coups Jan 28, 2014

    View quoted thread

    I don't recall any leading liberal politician ever promoting the privatization of social security. Most republicans either. But regardless, one has to look at the total history of why we have it in the first place. Back in the Great Depression, millions of people lost their life savings and then asked the government to help as they had no source of income. You claim that you could make more money than the govt. and you probably could, but human nature and history show us that most people don't invest wisely, they don't adequately plan for the future, and they will ultimately still need some sort of guaranteed income. That's why social security is the most popular program in the history of govt.

  • Plenty Coups Jan 28, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Once again, I'm not saying they're not valuable. I'm saying they're not guaranteed because they aren't. In fact several republicans have proposed going after the pension system and in fact have done so in other states. In certain states, a teacher cannot also get social security if they get a pension while a private sector worker has no such restrictions.

  • Stop Making Sense Jan 28, 2014

    The Republicans want to destroy the teachers' unions at all costs. They don't care how many young peoples' lives they destroy in the process.

  • ILoveDowntownRaleigh Jan 27, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Indeed, tracmister, your facts don't lie..and :-) btw, your post was the last one on this thread that carried any shred of relevance to the article and subject under discussion.

  • mep Jan 27, 2014

    Well if any teachers want to work in a remote part of the State.... let em.

  • dwr1964 Jan 27, 2014

    In my entire career working in NC, I never received more than 40 grand a year. I moved to Wyoming, where I was able to retire after 5 years. Now I am back in NC, enjoying life with my grandkids.