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State Board Of Education Considers Teacher Pipeline Issues

Cole del Charco
At the State Board of Education's February meeting, the group focused on issues around teacher retention in North Carolina.

How teachers end up in the profession, and how they progress in their careers, was a main focus of the State Board of Education's February meeting.

The board heard a presentation from TeachNC, a group that tries to empower "those interested in providing personalized resources and support for each stage of the career decision-making process.”

A presentation of the annual report on the state of the teaching profession shows a relatively consistent number of teachers from 2016 to 2019. In addition, the percentage of teachers who’ve left the profession has gone down for the last two years, from 8.7% in 2016-17 to 8.1% in 2017-18 and 7.9% in 2018-19. 

Credit DPI
The number of employees in N.C. public schools since 2016.

Tom Tomberlin, the director of education recruitment and support at the Department of Public Instruction, says while those numbers are encouraging, some districts are affected more than others.

"The East experiences much greater teacher attrition than the West, and we need to think of ways that we can help those districts retain their effective teachers," Tomberlin said.

The three regions with the highest rates of attrition are the Southeast, Sandhills and Northeast. 

Last summer, the General Assembly passed a law that eliminated the N.C. Final Exams. Those assessments were given in middle and high school classes that don’t require students to take an end-of-grade or end-of-class assessment. The goal is to limit the number of tests students have to take, but another result is that it takes away one method the state has used to evaluate teachers.

Credit DPI
Since the elimination of the N.C. Final Exam, the state is considering alternative ways to evaluate teachers.

The board is considering other options to evaluate teachers without the test.  Those include student surveys, determining whether students hit learning objectives, formative assessments, computer adaptive testing and observational evaluation.

The board asked a committee to further examine those options and to make one specific recommendation.

Cole del Charco is WUNC’s morning reporter. He’s worked for WUNC since 2019.
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