01/02/2014 05:56 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Teachers In North Carolina Are Extremely Depressed About The State Of Their Profession


After North Carolina recently passed legislation that eliminated teacher tenure, halted teacher pay raises and initiated a statewide school voucher program, a new survey reveals that the state's educators are extremely frustrated with the way they are being treated.

The online survey, conducted by University of North Carolina Wilmington professors Dr. Scott Imig and Dr. Robert Smith, asked over 600 North Carolina educators about their feelings on topics like recent changes to state education policy and teacher morale. Overall, the results of the survey, which were not based on a scientific sampling, are less than encouraging.

Of the teachers surveyed, 96 percent signaled that they “think public education in North Carolina is headed in the wrong direction,” while 97 percent of those surveyed said they thought recent “legislative changes have had a negative effect on teacher morale.” Even before recent legislative changes, North Carolina educators were some of the lowest paid in the country.

Additionally, the results of the survey substantiate recent claims that there would be a “large exodus of quality educators” out of the state as a result of the legislation. Over 74 percent of those surveyed signaled that, “they were less likely to continue working as a teacher/administrator in NC,” as a result of recent legislation, while 57 percent of respondents indicated that they “they were more likely to continue working as a teacher/administrator but in another state.”

The survey also touched upon the state’s new school voucher program. The program, initiated earlier this year with the Opportunity Scholarships Act, allows low-income children to attend private schools with taxpayer-funded vouchers. In recent months, the program has come under fire from parents and educators who say it is unconstitutional and siphons money away from public schools. Indeed, 87 percent of respondents in the survey said they thought the program “will have a negative impact on the state’s public schools.”

Smith told North Carolina outlet Star News Online that he thought the survey results showed that teachers were in low spirits.

“In some ways, they’re used to not being paid. That isn’t anything too new,” he told the outlet. “But I think what is new and what is overwhelming ... is the level of demoralization, the ways that teachers are feeling so devalued for the work that they do.”

In December, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) indicated that he would like to roll out proposals to increase teacher pay.

"We will definitely have some proposals from the governor's office for the short session," McCrory told local outlet WRAL-TV.



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