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Future Teachers Concerned About State Budget Cuts

February 11, 2011

RALEIGH, N.C. - Education majors at North Carolina colleges and universities will be paying close attention to Gov. Beverly Perdue's State of the State address on Monday and to her budget, expected to be released later in the week. Education programs and teaching positions are being threatened by the state's close to $3 billion budget shortfall. It's a concern for future teachers like Austina White, who questions the value society places on education.

"We value education and education leads to all other careers. You all start from public education, but there's other careers where you make a lot more money."

Based on preliminary estimates from a report being released later this year by the National Education Association, North Carolina ranks 45th in the country for teacher salaries. That's down from 25th just two years ago.

Jennifer Elmo teaches a Teacher Cadet class at Sanderson High School, Raleigh. The program prepares high school students for the teaching profession. Elmo says some of her students are expressing concern over current and future teacher salaries.

"Some of them said that, yes, that would definitely deter them from wanting to become a teacher if we keep reducing the amount of pay that teachers have."

In his recent State of the Union address, President Obama called for more people to enter the teaching profession.

White questions whether the President's priorities are shared by the entire country.

"If teachers get paid the least, but we say we value education the most, is that really true?"

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC