North Carolina’s teachers are leaving in droves. What a newly released report finds

North Carolina’s teacher turnover rate has soared by 47%, with 1 in 9 educators having left the profession, according to the newest state report.

A report being presented Wednesday to the State Board of Education shows a teacher “attrition rate” of 11.5% between March 2022 and March 2023. That means that 10,376 of the state’s 90,638 teachers left the profession in that time period.

The attrition rose rose 47%, up from 7.78% in the prior report.

There was also an 8% increase in the state’s teacher vacancy rate.

The report shows nearly 3,100 more teachers quit the profession than the prior year.

NC schools struggle to find teachers

The new report shows the continuing challenges that North Carolina’s public schools face finding enough educators.

Last year, the National Education Association ranked North Carolina 46th in the nation in beginning teacher pay and 34th in average teacher pay. In addition, schools across the state started the school year with more than 3,500 teaching vacancies.

Jim Hunt, a retired art teacher, substitute teaches at Aversboro Elementary School in Garner in November 2021. Hunt was pressed into frequent service because of the large number of teacher vacancies. Travis Long/tlong@newsobserver.com
Jim Hunt, a retired art teacher, substitute teaches at Aversboro Elementary School in Garner in November 2021. Hunt was pressed into frequent service because of the large number of teacher vacancies. Travis Long/tlong@newsobserver.com

In response, last year’s state budget raised the base salary for beginning teachers by $2,000 to $39,000 this school year. It’s set to rise to $41,000 next school year.

The state budget provided an average teacher raise of 7% over two years, with newer educators getting raises of more than 10%. The state’s most experienced teachers are only slated to get 3.6% raises over the two years of the budget.

Senate Republicans said the state budget will increase the average pay for teachers to $60,671 by the 2024-25 school year. That figure includes the money that counties provide to supplement the state base pay.

Last week, the N.C. House Committee on Education Reform adopted a report saying the state continues to face difficulties recruiting and retaining high quality teachers. The bipartisan group of lawmakers said teacher compensation in the state isn’t keeping up with the rising cost of living.

“The Committee recognizes that North Carolina’s teacher compensation structure is not ensuring that hard-to-staff subject area positions and schools are sufficiently filled with highly qualified teachers,” according to the report.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.