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Policy requiring only one semester of prep courses to teach part-time sparks concern


By Lucy Nelson and Jordan Honeycutt

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    ONSLOW COUNTY, North Carolina (WLOS) — A nationwide teacher shortage has North Carolina changing policies for new teachers.

Now, anyone with a bachelor’s degree can take one semester of a teacher preparation course, and be eligible to work part-time as a teacher.

The policy makes it easier for non-educators to teach classes in their specialized areas of expertise, and to fill in spots during a teaching shortage.

But, member of North Carolina’s Parent Teacher Association Dr. Leroy Wray has doubts when it comes to allowing people to teach after just one class.

“It’s a short-term resolution. But it’s definitely not the long-term resolution,” said Dr. Wray, “Building relationships with students, being proactive and communicating with students, parents, organizations, that’s important. Those things are important and I think you learn that when you go through a little bit more than just a semester course.”

The part-time teachers can work less than 20 hours per week or for less than six full consecutive months, which Onslow County NCAE president Anne Hardinger says is concerning because children need consistency in their lives and education.

“I just feel like it’s a really bad idea overall and it will shortchange our students,” said Hardinger, “It’ll be like you know, in my opinion, that they’re basically getting taught by a long-term substitute until that teacher, you know, learns the ropes. And it takes a licensed teacher 3-5 years to do that.”

Both she and Dr. Wray said it’s like putting a band-aid over the issue of the teaching shortage, when really what needs to be done is to make the overall profession more attractive by respecting educators and paying them more.

“They’re just trying to fill in spots because they don’t have enough teachers,” said Hardinger, “So what they need to do instead is attract more teachers to the profession, make it a profession in which people will stay.”

The policy goes into effect in the 2021-2022 school year.

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