Yes, South Carolina, you beat our legislators in basketball. Yes, South Carolina, you seem to have a winning strategy for teacher recruitment. But North Carolina still has a chance to elevate its game.
I say this with some hesitation. It takes commitment and foresight to develop a strong teacher recruitment plan. And, I am bad with sports analogies. But here goes.
“Failure does not come from losing, but from not trying.”–Larry Brown
Take a look at this screen shot:
This is the South Carolina Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention, & Advancement (CERRA). Under one roof it has programs that work together, such as the Teacher Cadet program for high school students and the college scholarship program, Teaching Fellows. And putting them together creates a pipeline. CERRA reports that in the latest year of Teaching Fellows, seven of 10 of the Fellows were exposed to teaching as a profession by being Teacher Cadets.
North Carolina is no longer investing in these programs.
In 2011, the North Carolina General Assembly wiped out funding for Teacher Cadets and began to shut down the Teaching Fellows program. It was hard to figure this out as a rational policy decision: we have a teacher shortage, the need to begin the pipeline in at least high school is well established through rigorous research,1 and the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program has been hailed nationally as an exemplar. And indeed, South Carolina followed North Carolina’s playbook for its Teaching Fellows program.
So what else is going on? Well, the North Carolina Teacher Cadet program is run by the North Carolina Foundation for Public School Children, which is associated with the North Carolina Association of Educators. The 2011 session of the General Assembly was a dim year for the NCAE as the new Republican majority flexed its muscles. The Teaching Fellows program also may have been scrapped because of its affiliation. The program was run by the Public School Forum, which always has been a separate think and do policy center, but its success at implementation of reforms under Democratic regimes of the General Assembly may have caused some taint.
This difference in governance approach also may cause a difference in how well the programs relate to each other. Whereas 70 percent of Teaching Fellows were Teacher Cadets in South Carolina, the figure is closer to 25 percent in North Carolina. And it is easy to see how this could happen. With CERRA, Teaching Fellows coordinators and Teacher Cadet instructors have opportunities to meet and work together.
“A key basketball skill is imagery. The best players ‘see’ situations before they happen so they can be prepared.”–Dr. Jack Ramsay
The program began as the Center for Teacher Recruitment. It was housed at Winthrop University. It ran the Teacher Cadet program, which was developed in South Carolina. The South Carolina Education Improvement Act of 1984 was the catalyst for this reform, providing additional funds through an additional penny sales tax when Governor Riley was in office. Since then, schools in 35 other states have implemented South Carolina’s Teacher Cadet curriculum — including North Carolina.
The center has evolved to CERRA and includes a broader continuum of programs. The State Teacher of the Year serves a one-year residency with CERRA, working with all the programs and serving as an ambassador across the state. CERRA also produces an annual supply and demand surveyalong with an annual report that describes each of their programs.
This gives all appearances of a well-conceived state plan for teacher recruitment and retention. What do you think, North Carolina?
If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
The original oversight for CERRA was the Commission on Higher Education — similar to the University of North Carolina Board of Governors. The Commission still retains some oversight, but now there is the Education Oversight Commission, established by the legislature. The EOC sees the recommended budget for CERRA before it goes to the legislature. Winthrop is still the fiscal agent, but CERRA is funded separately by the South Carolina legislature — it is not funded through the University budget.
So here is what South Carolina is considering in its budget as it makes its way through the legislative process:2
Approximately $5 million for teacher recruitment programs run by CERRA3
A new program to be operated by CERRA to recruit and retain classroom educators in rural and underserved districts experiencing excessive turnover of classroom teachers4
Funding for Teaching Fellows, Teacher Cadets, and recruitment of minority teachers – all programs coordinated through CERRA with accountability to the state department and the Education Oversight Commission5
Periodic evaluation by CERRA of the schools of education that receive Teaching Fellows6
Detailed data collection and compiling of a supply and demand study7
A ten year public school teacher needs study (2017-2027)8
North Carolina needs a state plan for teacher recruitment and retention. We need to regain key tools that we’ve had — even if they are reshaped and restructured.
We need to take the best of the NC Teaching Fellows while considering the recommendations included in its final report. We need to include Master’s degree pay for teachers and incentive programs for rural and hard to staff schools. And we need to continue the gems we have in place, like the New Teacher Support Program. It all needs to be appropriately funded. And we need a governance structure that provides coordination, transparency, and accountability. That could be a game changer in North Carolina.
And if we are keeping score, note the expectation set in the draft South Carolina budget:
“The General Assembly remains desirous of raising the average teacher salary in South Carolina through incremental increases over the next few years so as to make such equivalent to the national average teacher salary.”9
Can North Carolina meet or beat that?
“The only difference between a good shot and a bad shot is whether it goes in or not.”–Charles Barkley
And about the same could be said for programs in the budget — they are either in or out. And if these pieces are not included, we will have to wait that much longer for a state plan for recruiting teachers.
(SDE-EIA: Rural Teacher Recruiting Incentive) (A) There is created a program within the South Carolina Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement (CERRA) to recruit and retain classroom educators in rural and underserved districts experiencing excessive turnover of classroom teachers on an annual basis
(B) During Fiscal Year 2015-16, CERRA shall develop eligibility requirements and applications for individual educators, school districts, and institutions of higher education not inconsistent with existing licensure requirements for each, but also including:
(1) Eligible districts identified by CERRA as experiencing greater than twelve percent average annual teacher turnover, as reported on the districts’ five most recent district report cards issued by the South Carolina Department of Education, may make application to participate in the program.
(2) Individuals eligible for incentives shall be willing to provide instructional services in an eligible district in exchange for participation in an incentive detailed in item (C) of this section, pursuant to the obligations and restrictions stated for each.
(3) Institutions of higher education eligible to receive education funding as a component of recruiting incentives created pursuant to item (C) of this section shall not be excluded from participation in Teaching Fellows Program in accordance with proviso 1A.66 of this Act. However, an institution of higher education cannot concurrently receive funding on behalf of an eligible individual from both the Teaching Fellows Program and incentives developed pursuant to item (C) of this section.
(4) Any incentives requiring individuals to relocate into an eligible district to provide instructional services shall not be made available to individuals providing instructional services in other eligible districts.
(C) Pursuant to item (A), CERRA shall develop a set of incentives including, but not limited to, salary supplements, education subsidies, professional development, and mentorship to be provided to classroom educators that offer instructional services in eligible districts. The incentives and implementation shall be developed in consultation with the State Department of Education and the Education Oversight Committee, and shall provide incentive options for eligible individuals at all stages of their careers, including high-school and college or university students interested in entering the teaching profession.
(D) CERRA shall report by January 15, 2016 to the Governor, President pro Tempore of the Senate, and Speaker of the House on the incentives developed pursuant to item (C) of this section and make recommendations for attracting and retaining high quality teachers in rural and underserved districts. The report shall contain at a minimum eligibility requirements and application processes for districts and individuals, descriptions of and proposed budgets for each incentive program and an analysis of the number and demographics of individuals potentially eligible for each.
(E) Funds appropriated or transferred for use in the Rural Teacher Recruiting Incentive may be carried forward from prior fiscal years and used for the same purpose.
1A.7. (SDE-EIA: XII.F.2-CHE/Teacher Recruitment) Of the funds appropriated in Part IA, Section 1, XII.F.2. for the Teacher Recruitment Program, the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education shall distribute a total of ninety-two percent to the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement (CERRA-South Carolina) for a state teacher recruitment program, of which at least seventy-eight percent must be used for the Teaching Fellows Program specifically to provide scholarships for future teachers, and of which twenty-two percent must be used for other aspects of the state teacher recruitment program, including the Teacher Cadet Program and $166,302 which must be used for specific programs to recruit minority teachers: and shall distribute eight percent to South Carolina State University to be used only for the operation of a minority teacher recruitment program and therefore shall not be used for the operation of their established general education programs. Working with districts with an absolute rating of At-Risk or Below Average, CERRA will provide shared initiatives to recruit and retain teachers to schools in these districts. CERRA will report annually by October first to the Education Oversight Committee and the Department of Education on the success of the recruitment and retention efforts in these schools. The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education shall ensure that all funds are used to promote teacher recruitment on a statewide basis, shall ensure the continued coordination of efforts among the three teacher recruitment projects, shall review the use of funds and shall have prior program and budget approval. The South Carolina State University program, in consultation with the Commission on Higher Education, shall extend beyond the geographic area it currently serves. Annually, the Commission on Higher Education shall evaluate the effectiveness of each of the teacher recruitment projects and shall report its findings and its program and budget recommendations to the House and Senate Education Committees, the State Board of Education and the Education Oversight Committee by October first annually, in a format agreed upon by the Education Oversight Committee and the Department of Education.With the funds appropriated CERRA shall also appoint and maintain the South Carolina Teacher Loan Advisory Committee. The Committee shall be composed of one member representing each of the following: (1) Commission on Higher Education; (2) State Board of Education; (3) Education Oversight Committee; (4) Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement; (5) South Carolina Student Loan Corporation; (6) South Carolina Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators; (7) a local school district human resources officer; (8) a public higher education institution with an approved teacher education program; and (9) a private higher education institution with an approved teacher education program. The members of the committee representing the public and private higher education institutions shall rotate among those intuitions and shall serve a two-year term on the committee. The committee must be staffed by CERRA, and shall meet at least twice annually. The committee’s responsibilities are limited to: (1) establishing goals for the Teacher Loan Program; (2) facilitating communication among the cooperating agencies; (3) advocating for program participants; and (4) recommending policies and procedures necessary to promote and maintain the program.
1A.58. (SDE-EIA: XII.F.2 – CHE/CERRA) The Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention and Advancement (CERRA) must complete periodic evaluations of the institutions currently hosting a Teaching Fellows (TF) program and ensure that the TF programs at the current host institutions continue to meet the requirements for a TF program as set forth by the CERRA Board of Directors. Further, CERRA will continue implementing a long-range plan for approving additional TF programs at other public, four-year institutions who wish to be considered to host a TF program, provided the proposed programs meet the requirements set forth by the CERRA Board of Directors. CERRA will publish TF program criteria and requirements prominently on its website. Any institution who applies but is not selected to host a TF program will be informed in writing of the basis for the selection decision and be offered technical support if the institution elects to reapply. Any institution that applies but is not selected to host a TF program may appeal to the Commission on Higher Education. (SDE: Teacher Data Collection) Of the non-program funds appropriated to the Department of Education, it and the Commission on Higher Education shall share data about the teaching profession in South Carolina. The data sharing should ensure (1) a systematic report on teacher supply and demand information and (2) data to determine classes being taught by public school teachers out of field of their preparation. The data collection should include but not be limited to: classes/subjects taught, number of students taught, percentage of teacher education graduates from South Carolina colleges/universities who go into teaching, percentage of teacher education graduates who teach in public schools in South Carolina, percentage of new teachers who leave the South Carolina teaching profession in the first three years of public school teaching due to unsuccessful evaluations, percentage of new teachers who leave the profession in the first three years of public school teaching in South Carolina who have successful evaluations, turnover rate of teachers and certification areas with highest vacancies. All database items should be set up so that it can be disaggregated by ethnicity, gender, geographic location, etc. Senate Version (provided to EdNC by CERRA)1A.tss. (SDE-EIA: Teacher Supply Study) With funds appropriated to the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement (CERRA), in concert with the Commission on Higher Education, the Department of Education, and the Education Oversight Committee, CERRA shall initiate and conduct a study to identify and project the number of additional teachers needed annually in public school classrooms for grades K5 through 12, for school years beginning 2017 through 2027. The purpose of the study shall be to: (1) provide specific data and projections on the number of teachers expected to be needed as compared to the number available, by Subject Areas Taught as indicated in CERRA’s annual Supply and Demand Report, and with a focus on critical need subject areas; (2) determine whether, individually and collectively, teaching programs at applicable institutions of higher learning in South Carolina have the capacity and infrastructure to fulfill projected needs in item (1); and (3) provide data for general use in estimating the fiscal impact of any new or revised programs being considered to incent more talented individuals to enter teacher training programs and more highly qualified teachers to remain in the profession for longer periods of time.
1A.39. (SDE-EIA: XII.C.2. Teacher Salaries/SE Average) The projected Southeastern average teacher salary shall be the average of the average teachers’ salaries of the southeastern states as projected by the Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office. For the current school year the Southeastern average teacher salary is projected to be $48,892 $49,796. The General Assembly remains desirous of raising the average teacher salary in South Carolina through incremental increases over the next few years so as to make such equivalent to the national average teacher salary.
The statewide minimum teacher salary schedule used in Fiscal Year 2012-13 will continue to be used in Fiscal Year 2014-15 2015-16.
Additionally, for the current fiscal year, a local school district board of trustees must increase the salary compensation for all eligible certified teachers employed by the district by no less than one year of experience credit using the district salary schedule utilized the prior fiscal year as the basis for providing the step. Application of this provision must be applied uniformly for all eligible certified teachers.
Funds appropriated in Part IA, Section 1, XII.C.2. for Teacher Salaries must be used to increase salaries of those teachers eligible pursuant to Section 59-20-50(b), to include classroom teachers, librarians, guidance counselors, psychologists, social workers, occupational and physical therapists, school nurses, orientation/mobility instructors, and audiologists in the school districts of the state.
For purposes of this provision teachers shall be defined by the Department of Education using the Professional Certified Staff (PCS) System.