WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Teacher turnover across the state increased last year, but dropped in some southeastern districts, according to a report released this week by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.
Statewide 14 percent of teachers left in the 2012-13 school year, up from 12 percent the previous year. The report called it "a significant increase."
Turnover essentially remained the same in New Hanover County. The rate jumped 5 points in Bladen and 3 in Columbus. Teacher turnover dropped 3.6 points in Whiteville City Schools, 1.9 in Brunswick, and 1.6 in Pender.
"I'm worried about our teaching profession. Our teachers who didn't go into education to become rich are now scrambling to make ends meet. They didn't take a vow of poverty," said June Atkinson (D), N.C. superintendent of public instruction. "They know they can't become rich in education, but they should be paid a living wage."
Atkinson and Lt. Gov. Dan Forest (R) were in Wilmington Thursday for the N.C. School Boards Association's Public Policy Conference.
Forest said he thinks the state's teachers should be the highest paid and the highest performing in the nation, but he believes there is misinformation about why teachers are leaving.
"I think teachers are frustrated with a lot of things right now," Forest said. "One is the amount of mandates that come down from the state or from the federal government about the things that they need to do other than teaching."
The lieutenant governor said lawmakers should take a second look at an action they took this year – eliminating extra pay for master's degrees.
"If they're trying to improve their career within their field of study then they should have the opportunity to be able to go do that and be rewarded for doing that," he said.
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