RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The number of college students looking to become teachers in North Carolina is plummeting, a key official said Wednesday, leaving the state to wonder how it fill classrooms with quality teachers in the future.
The number of students in the UNC system who major in education is getting smaller, a top official with the UNC system told the State Board of Education.
“We really see a decline across the spectrum,” said Alisa Chapman, a vice president for academic and university programs with the UNC general administration.
She said that since 2010, the number of people who enroll in education has dropped 30 percent in North Carolina.
“Obviously, a 30 percent decline since 2010 is very concerning,” Chapman said.
Last week, some state school superintendents spoke before a legislative committee and said they have had trouble filling some job openings.
The North Carolina Association of Educators said teacher salaries and education funding from the General Assembly as reasons why.
“The lack of value and respect that the state of North Carolina and our General Assembly are showing for public school teachers is pushing people out of the profession,” said Mark Jewell, vice president of the NCAE.
But Sen. Jerry Tillman, a Republican and the co-chair of the Senate Education committee, said, “We’re doing a lot of things to make it better. You can’t blame the legislature for all of these things that are happening now.”
Tillman pointed to recent raises for teachers, upping the starting salary for teachers to 35-thousand dollars a year.
He said there needs to be a better teacher training program.
Some college teachers, however, are choosing to remain on the teaching path.
“I love children and children are the future,” said Elaina Moore, an N.C. State University education major.
Moore said she wants to be a teacher because she remembers the impact her teachers had on her.
“They definitely made a huge impression on what I wanted to do growing up,” Moore said.
As for Moore, the student at N.C. State, she plans to just focus on her dream.
“All you can do is work hard and prove that you deserve the pay,” Moore said.
The UNC system is setting enrollment growth goals and working on recruiting people to education, including the creation of a new website.