N.C. Senator Chad Barefoot – Senate Education Committee Approves Policies on Teacher Recruitment and Retention

barefootla@ncleg.net

Senate Education Committee Approves Policies on Teacher Recruitment and Retention

Raleigh, N.C. – The Senate Education/Higher Education on Tuesday approved 5 bills that showcase the Senate’s vision to improve teacher recruitment and retention in North Carolina. The proposed legislation was the result of a Senate workgroup’s efforts to address teacher preparation, recruitment, and retention challenges in the state. The workgroup was chaired by Sen. Chad Barefoot (R-Wake) and consisted of Sen. Deanna Ballard (R-Watauga), Sen. Tamara Barringer (R-Wake), and Sen. Jerry Tillman (R-Randolph).

The 2015-2016 North Carolina State of the Teaching Profession report showed that since 2013, the top five most difficult to staff subject areas are math, science and special education across different grade levels. In 2015, ninety school districts reported having difficulty staffing High School Math teachers.

The Senate’s workgroup engaged a variety of stakeholders, including students, professors, schools of education and superintendents, to develop these policies. The legislation advanced in committee incorporates their recommendations into a package that will help attract the best and brightest to our classrooms, particularly in hard to staff subject areas, and provide additional support to keep them there.

“The Senate demonstrated today that we are committed to recruiting and retaining the best teachers for our classrooms,” said Sen. Barefoot. “These policies will provide crucial support to early career teachers and give local districts access to additional resources to fill immediate staffing needs.”

“Under the North Carolina New Teacher Support Act, beginning teachers will receive the additional support they need to seamlessly enter the profession and provide our students a high quality education,” said Sen. Michael Lee (R-New Hanover), a co-sponsor of the bill.

“STEM teachers are in demand in North Carolina,” said Sen. David Curtis (R-Lincoln). “The UTeach program will expand UNC schools’ ability to recruit talented STEM students to enter the teaching profession while allowing these students to earn their primary degree in their field of choice. This program will be a valuable tool for teacher recruitment and retention efforts in our state.”

Bill Highlights

· S 447: Turning TAs Into Teachers (Sen. Barefoot, Sen. McInnis, Sen. Smith-Ingram)

· Gives 10 additional school districts with a high percentage of low performing schools the ability to grow teachers from within the school system by providing tuition assistance awards to Teacher Assistants to pursue a college degree and gain a teaching license.

· S 448: Professors in the Classroom (Sen. Barefoot, Sen. Newton, Sen. Krawiec)

· Provides school districts another resource to fill hard to staff subjects by allowing faculty from community colleges and universities to work as adjunct instructors in K-12.

· S 462: UNC/UTeach Program (Sen. Barefoot, Sen. Curtis, Sen. Daniel)

· Directs the UNC System to evaluate the feasibility of implementing the UTeach Program. The UTeach Program, started at the University of Texas at Austin, recruits students enrolled in STEM majors to enter the teaching profession by offering a course of study that allows the students to earn their STEM degree in addition to a teaching certificate.

· S 517: NC New Teacher Support Act (Sen. Barefoot, Sen. Lee, Sen. Edwards)

· Allows teachers that graduate from a teacher preparation program with a 3.75 GPA and score at least a 48 on the edTPA assessment to start their career on a higher step of the salary schedule. Teachers in hard to staff subject areas and low-performing school districts will start at an even higher step.

· Increases funding to the North Carolina New Teacher Support Program to expand the program and include more beginning teachers in our state.

· Reimburses graduates of a North Carolina educator preparation program for the administrative cost of obtaining a teaching licensure. The current fee is $70.

· S 598: Future Teachers of NC (Sen. Barefoot, Sen. Meredith, Sen. Britt)

· Allows high-achieving high school students to consider teaching as a career through courses offered in participating high schools in which students will learn about the profession of teaching, pedagogy, and will be given the opportunity to gain field experience.

· Students that enroll in these programs will also have the opportunity to earn dual credit upon completion of the program.