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WUNC's education coverage is led by reporters Dave Dewitt and Reema Khrais. Dewitt has been with the station since 2003. Khrais is focused on Education Policy Reporting. Browse recent stories here.

Leaving Teaching: Two NC Educators, Married, Talk About Why They Quit

Deana and Mark Kahlenberg
Still shot from video
Emerging Issues Forum

Deana and Mark Kahlenberg teach at the same school: Alderman Road Elementary in Cumberland County. They met there. They both enjoyed teaching for many years - Deana for seven and Mark for eight. And now they are both leaving the school, and leaving the profession. They are in grad school to become speech and language pathologists.

Why did they choose to leave?

Mark: Mostly pay reasons

Deana Kahlenberg
Credit Still shot from video / Emerging Issues Forum
Deana Kahlenberg

Deana: That's why we initially went back to school. We saw the pay freeze begin. And we waited to see if maybe there was going to be a change...maybe it would be a one year, two year thing. And then when it turned into how long it has been, we decided that we needed to pursue something else.

(The couple had a 1.1 percent raise in 5 years. Each currently takes home $1850 after taxes, retirement and health insurance.)

Deana: That's really tough when you're both teachers. And we want to have a family of our own, and we want to provide for them the same way our parents did for us.

Mark: I don't think we ever would have gone back to grad school if our (pay) had increased each year.

Deana: We both love teaching. We met at our elementary school -- it has become our community ... it is sad for us to go. But as a family we have to make that decision.

They have both told their students about their decision, but doubt the kids understand.

The couple is expecting their first child in May.

Deana and Mark Kahlenberg told their story as a part of a panel hosted by the Emerging Issues Forum. Watch Deana, Mark and several teachers talk about why they've left the profession recently:

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