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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; Healthcare decision planning important for CT residents; Debt dilemma poll: Hoosiers wrestle with college costs.

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Civil Rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

NC Colleges Work to Fill Teacher Pipeline

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Tuesday, January 31, 2023   

Schools across North Carolina report grappling with severe staff shortages. Districts began the year down more than 4,000 teachers, according to data from the North Carolina School Superintendents Association. The average starting teacher pay in North Carolina is around $37,000. Stagnating wages, plus pandemic burnout, are making it more difficult to recruit and retain educators.

Tara Whitbread, associate director of admissions At William Peace University, said the state's licensing and certification process can be another barrier, especially for people looking to begin careers in special education.

"A lot of districts are being creative to fill their shortages," Whitbread said. "So, they're taking teacher assistants, instructional assistants, who already have their bachelor's degree and they are putting them in a full time, lead teacher position."

According to a report by the nonprofit Best NC, traditional public school enrollment statewide has been on the decline since 2005, while the number of kids who are home-schooled or attending charter schools has increased substantially.

Whitbread explained someone with a bachelor's degree who wants a teaching license must enroll in an educator preparation program, which can take up to three years to complete, and said many non-licensed individuals are already working as instructional assistants or teacher assistants, which is a major issue.

"Teachers are working full-time as basically beginning teachers," Whitbread said. "And they either don't have the support in their school system, or they're working to manage being a teacher and take college level classes. (:13) So, they're not fulfilling their licensure requirements within those three years."

Whitbread said anyone interested in a teaching career should explore options for getting firsthand classroom experience, and to do the research on colleges offering educator preparation programs.

"If you've never been a teacher in a classroom before, see if you can be an instructional support teacher; be an IA, an instructional assistant or a teacher assistant," she said.

A recent state Supreme Court-ordered plan said North Carolina plans to spend an estimated $5-billion by 2028 on new teacher support programs, fellowships and residency programs to populate classrooms with qualified educators.

Disclosure: William Peace University contributes to our fund for reporting on Education. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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