Local News

New Web Site To Help Attract, Retain Potential Teachers

Posted March 4, 2003

— Over the next 10 years, officials estimate North Carolina will need as many as 120,000 new teachers. However, low pay and tough working conditions make it hard to fill this order. A new program is designed to make it easier to move into the classroom.

Most teachers have noble reasons for working in the classroom.

"I wanted to be a positive role model. I'm concerned with the direction that some of our children are taking today," teacher Benita McClain said.

However, officials claim it is getting harder to find teachers.

"A tremendous amount of time, energy and money is required in order to recruit teachers to fill these slots," Wake County Schools spokeswoman Dhedra Cross said.

Every year, North Carolina needs to hire about 10,000 new teachers, but only 5,000 people are graduating from the state's colleges and universities with education degrees. Of that number, only 3,200 are coming to work in North Carolina schools, which leaves the state with an annual shortfall of 6,800 teachers.

To help combat the problem, Gov. Mike Easley launched

Teach4NC.org

, a Web site which helps people find out how to get certified and find teaching jobs. He said pay increases must also be part of the equation.

"As the economy gets better, we know our teachers are going to have to be paid more just to keep them, but as far as paying them what they're worth, I don't think we could ever do that," Easley said.

School administrators say it is about more than money.

"I do a lot of morale things to keep teachers happy because it's not just about dollars. They're going to work hard anyway," principal Marvin Connelly said.

One big push of the program is recruiting lateral entry teachers -- people from other fields with a college degree who teach while they earn their certification.

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