Local News

State Leaders Working To Attract More Teachers To N.C.

Posted September 20, 2005

— A compromise is in the works to attract more teachers to the state of North Carolina.

WRAL has learned lawmakers and state education officials will discuss an alternative to a bill opposed by Governor Mike Easley.

Easley is threatening to veto a measure that would drop the requirement that out-of-state teachers take and pass North Carolina's certification exam. Those teachers waived from taking the exam must have been teaching for at least three years and must be certified by another state

School leaders across the state believe North Carolina's Praxis exam is keeping many teachers from coming to the state because teachers earn only a fraction of their potential until they take and pass the exam.

Sylvia Brodnax is a case in point. She's certified by the state of Virginia, but she wanted to move back to Henderson, in Vance County, where she grew up.

Now she earns a lot less as a teacher this year at Eaton Johnson Middle School.

"I took a tremendous cut," she said.

Norman Shearin, superintendent of Vance County Schools, said there are many out-of-state teachers who are equally qualified.

"What we're doing is accepting what the standards are in Virginia, Tennessee or South Carolina. They're not that much different," he said.

Although the state needs 9,000 new teachers each year, Governor Easley doesn't see it that way.

"You know how concerned I am about lowering standards," he said.

Easley said he's hoping lawmakers and state education officials will come up with a compromise.

One proposal being considered would allow reciprocity with teachers only from bordering states.

Lawmakers said the State Board of Education could do that, even if the bill is vetoed.

Easley must veto the measure by October 2nd or it will automatically become law.

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