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Teacher shortage has NC looking elsewhere to recruit

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The school year starts in three weeks and districts across the Triad still have a few hundred teaching vacancies to fill.

So North Carolina is taking a new approach to recruiting teachers.

Kenya Donaldson, vice president of the Guilford County Association of Educators, has seen big changes in education since becoming a teacher in Guilford County more than 20 years ago.

The district has 117 positions to fill before August 26.

“It still continues to be difficult keeping those positions filled and maintaining the quality of instruction we want. People are choosing not to go into the career of education and those that are often do not stay beyond 3-5 years,” said Donaldson.

North Carolina sits in the bottom half for starting teacher salaries, forcing new teachers to find jobs elsewhere.

“I believe eventually the shortage is going to catch up and we’re going to have do some major recovery in the state,” Donaldson said.

Some school districts trying to avoid that shortage offer lateral entry programs which allow qualified professionals to enter the classroom right away while getting their teaching license.

“In order to prepare them for the business aspect, or the engineering or sciences, it's often best to have an individual who is an expert in that area,” Donaldson said.

Now outside companies are offering teaching certifications completely online.

Donaldson said about half of her colleagues at GCS went through a lateral entry program.

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