NC House Wants To Bring Back Teacher Scholarship Program

HIGH POINT, N.C. - The kids are out-- but Wednesday is the last school work day for many teachers across our area. As we head into summer -- the teacher your child had such a great year with-- may be finding other jobs.

The final count isn't in for this year yet, but last summer more than 14 out of every 100 North Carolina teachers – quit. That's actually better than the national average of 17 for every 100. Education experts say one reason teachers stay in North Carolina is the Teaching Fellows scholarship program. The program was set to end in 2015, but it's return is included in the House's proposed state budget.

The program would keep using your tax dollars to pay for tuition for college students who want to become teachers. The scholarship program gives prospective teachers up to $26,000 for tuition, books, room and board. The catch? They have to work for four years in a North Carolina school after graduation - or pay the money back.

"Once teachers are in the classroom for that period of four to five years, many people stay," former Teaching Fellow Scott Winslow said. "It's easy the first, second year when you're really struggling to give up and say this isn't the career for me."

The people who run Teaching Fellows administrators, tell me almost 80 percent of the teachers stay for the full four years. And nearly 60 percent of the teachers from the first Teaching Fellows class are still working in North Carolina 23 years later. People like Mr. Winslow.

"It's great to have an incentive for people to stay in the classroom," he said.

A great incentive, but how do you pay for it? The program costs more than $13 million a year. Right now, there's only a plan to cover $3 million of that by cutting text book funding. So that leaves $10 million to go before the plan becomes reality.


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