You’ve had one pay increase in the past five years. Your health care insurance premium is about to go up. You’ll no longer be compensated at a higher rate for earning an advanced degree. And the rules that protect you from arbitrary dismissal have been repealed.
Is it any wonder that teachers in Nash-Rocky Mount and Edgecombe County Public Schools might be looking for jobs elsewhere?
That’s one of the more sobering points made in a Sunday story by Telegram education reporter Jim Holt.
Nash-Rocky Mount Superintendent Dr. Anthony Jackson offered a wish for educators.
“I have this vision that at some point we are going to recognize and respect the teaching profession or give them the respect that we give our military,” he told Holt.
In the meantime though, Jackson said some teachers are taking on second jobs to help them make ends meet. Others are leaving North Carolina to find better pay and benefits in other states.
Largely by leaving vacancies open, Jackson and Edgecombe County Schools Superintendent John Farrelly have been able to reduce the numbers of teachers and teaching assistants to meet financial cuts without implementing layoffs. The numbers of students in the two systems have declined also, but by only about 100 students in the Nash-Rocky Mount system since last year.
The morale of local educators also has declined, Jackson said.
For all of the lip service legislative leaders pay to having better schools, their actions don’t seem to back up their words. Until that changes, schools across North Carolina are going to face steep challenges, indeed.