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Moonlight Madness for NC Teachers

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Thursday, February 27, 2014   

DANBURY, N.C. - As North Carolina teacher salaries continue their downturn - 15 percent in the last 13 years, adjusted for inflation - there is an upturn in the number of teachers moonlighting to support their families. Almost a third of North Carolina's teachers are now working a second job during the school year, according to research being conducted at UNC Charlotte.

Stokes County High School teacher David Tesh umpires baseball games after hours to supplement his take-home pay, which amounts to $1,500 a month.

"I mean, it's pretty much working second-shift. It is frustrating. I love to teach, but the money is not good," Tesh said, "especially here."

Research at Auburn University suggests that teachers who moonlight spend about an hour less per week lesson planning. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average North Carolina teacher salary is $45,000 a year, more than $10,000 below the national average.

UNC Charlotte professor Paul Fitchett is one of the researchers analyzing the data from the National Center for Educational Statistics. He said North Carolina ranks third in the country when it comes to moonlighting teachers.

"You have these teachers who are being pulled in several different directions at once. One direction, they're teaching their kids and they love their jobs," Fitchett said. "At the same time, they're taking on additional responsibilities, many of them outside of the field of education."

More than half of those who moonlight are working elsewhere than in education, he added.

"I don't want to suggest that teachers shouldn't be allowed to have second jobs, but they should be creating these jobs for teachers within the schools" Fitchett explained.

North Carolina's teacher turnover rate is also increasing - with more than 13,000 teachers leaving the profession last year. Public Schools First NC featured Fitchett and his partner's research in a recent newsletter.

The report on teacher turnover is at www.ncpublicschools.org.




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