by Dr. Terry Stoops
Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
Every year, stories about the number of school position vacancies circulate online. One reason why the stories have been popular in recent years is that they feed a familiar narrative, namely that the Republican-led General Assembly has made teaching in North Carolina public schools undesirable. The Teaching Working Conditions report suggests that the narrative is baloney. In the latest survey, 87.1 percent of respondents agreed that their school is a good place to work and learn.
So, when you encounter a story about the number of vacant positions in a school district or statewide, recognize that districts typically have many vacancies at this time of the year. One reason is that districts need to wait until the passage of state and county budgets before they can determine how many positions can be funded. (The state budget standoff makes school district budgeting tricky this year.) Moreover, the number of vacancies is usually consistent with past years, but the data are hard to come by. Finally, every district starts the school year with vacant positions and seem to manage it just fine.