Today, Wake County school officials are holding a press conference to discuss ““the alarming increase in mid-year teacher resignations and the dwindling supply of NC-trained teachers who are qualified to fill the empty positions.” Here are some questions that the media should ask those participating in the press conference:
1. Is this a Wake County phenomenon or is there a consistent pattern of mid-year teacher resignations in districts statewide? I suspect that some will hurl blame on Republican legislators, but if it is truly the result of policy changes, then we should see “alarming” mid-year resignations elsewhere.
2. Do we know why these teachers are leaving? Having aggregate figures on resignations is one thing. Knowing why they are resigning is another.
3. Has this happened in Wake County before? If so, why? It is vital to examine trends, rather than just one year of data.
3. Why is there a dwindling supply of NC-trained teachers? I am talking about data, not anecdotes.
4. Are the shortages in NC-trained teachers limited to certain subjects and grade levels? As a state, we’ve always struggled to produce teachers in certain subjects. Science, math, and special education teachers are always in short supply.
5. Does it matter if they are trained in North Carolina or somewhere else so long as they are qualified? According to Title II data, about one-third of North Carolina teachers are trained in other states.
6. Are there an “alarming” number of resignations of Wake County employees in other areas, such as administration or support staff? If not, why?
7. What are the experience levels of teachers who are resigning? If the resigning teachers are in their early years in the profession, it would appear to validate the Republicans’ plan to raise base pay for those teachers.
8. Are the press conference participants interested in finding solutions or placing blame? If it is the latter, then this is nothing more than a publicity stunt designed to score political points.
9. Speaking of finding solutions, have members of the Wake County Board of Education and central office administrators reached out to Governor McCrory, House Speaker Thom Tillis, and President Pro Tem of the Senate Phil Berger? If not, why?
10. What role did Common Core play in the resignations?