Many schools are searching for people to educate the nation’s future. There’s a list of openings for several school districts in the Piedmont Triad.
But it’s not just a problem in the area.
Despite North Carolina being seen as a hot spot for educators to move to, with low taxes and job security, some school systems still struggle to fill their buildings with teachers.
“This is a national problem,” said Dr. Terry Stoops, the vice president and research director of education studies at the John Locke Foundation in Raleigh. “There’s a lot of reasons for the decline, but North Carolina is not alone in seeing a dip in the number of teacher candidates.”
“Specific areas, schools, and subject areas will give you a better sense of what kind of shortages we have,” Stoops added.
Some districts are already working on ways to attract more teachers, like with lateral entry, Troops to Teachers programs and financial incentives.
“It’s really just about investing resources and time,” Stoops said.
Guilford County Schools is already putting these programs into practice, according to school board member Linda Welborn.
“We’re also trying to do things that are helping. Like in our low-income schools, we have a program in there that [the teachers] get bonuses if they meet expectations, as far as growth,” she said.
They’re already seeing some success.
“We are fortunate our turnover rate is lower than other districts. We hit a peak in 2015-2016, a 15 percent turnover rate,” Welborn said. “We’re currently a little over 12 percent turnover rate. Which is pretty good.”
But Welborn believes there are bigger issues.
“We don’t have a pipeline. We just need to be more creative in how to engage the younger generation into thinking that teaching is a great career,” she said.
Without more teachers ready to hit the classroom, it’s a problem not foreseen to get any better.
“We need to be making sure there’s a strong recruitment effort from local universities,” Stoops said. “Making sure those teachers know they’re welcome to stay in the community and become teachers at a school in the Triad.”
Stoops told FOX8 that, overall, school systems in the Triad are doing fairly well in recruiting and retaining teachers, but it comes down to making sure there are more teachers available in the future.