RALEIGH: 600 Wake Co. teachers have quit this school year - WNCN: News, Weather

Wake Schools: 600 teachers have quit this school year

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Wake officials said that number is up 41 percent over the same number who had resigned as of this time last year. Wake County, the largest school system in the state, employs nearly 9,000 teachers. Wake officials said that number is up 41 percent over the same number who had resigned as of this time last year. Wake County, the largest school system in the state, employs nearly 9,000 teachers.
RALEIGH, N.C. - Wake County Public Schools officials said 600 teachers have quit since the start of the school year, an "alarming" increase in teacher exodus that has the school system concerned.

Wake officials said that number is up 41 percent over the same number who had resigned as of this time last year. Wake County, the largest school system in the state, employs nearly 9,000 teachers.

Superintendent Jim Merrill said state lawmakers need to find a way to compensate teachers.

"We can’t sound the alarm any more than is occurring across the state,” Merrill said. "I need somebody to care and I need somebody to recognize the problem and I need the people who can do something about it to listen and respond."

WCPSS Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Doug Thilman, Assistant Dean for Professional Education and Accreditation Dr. Michael Maher and Underwood Elementary Principal Jacqueline Jordan addressed the matter at a Thursday afternoon press conference.

“While these figures are alarming, they are not surprising. Given the flat pay scale over the past few years, the recent legislated removal of both career status and higher pay for teachers with graduate degrees, increased teacher turnover has been expected,” Thilman said.

Jordan told reporters her school had lost five teachers this year.

Maher said fewer students are looking to be teachers, which could lead to hiring problems down the line.

"As today’s teachers leave their classrooms for other careers or other states, the supply of new teachers to fill those empty slots is declining,” said Maher said in a statement. “The pipeline is drying up, and this has both immediate and lingering long-term effects on the quality of teachers in North Carolina classrooms and ultimately student achievement.”

They also discussed the lack of NC-trained teachers who are qualified to fill the empty positions. North Carolina State University said the number of students choosing to go into teaching is around 20 percent. The University also said its seen an increase of graduates taking teaching jobs in other states.

The press conference was held at Underwood Elementary Schools on Glenwood Avenue.

Officials at two other area districts could not give exact numbers on how many teachers are leaving their districts.

Chrissy Pearson, chief communications officer for the Durham Public Schools, said this is spring break for Durham schools and exact numbers were not available.

"What we're saying in general is that we are definitely aware teachers are being pressured to look at different career choices are looking [to go to other states]. I do think that's changed in the last few years."

A spokeswoman for Johnston County Schools said their schools are on break this week and numbers for teacher departures this year were not available.

In 2013, 13 percent of North Carolina teachers left their jobs. That's an increase over 12 percent in 2012 and 11 percent in 2011.

Gov. Pat McCrory originally had a 1 percent increase for teachers in his proposed budget, but that failed to make it through the General Assembly. McCrory and other state leaders are now proposing to raise pay for starting teachers and will push for that in the upcoming legislative session.

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