The Public School Forum of North Carolina released a report on the impact of the North Carolina Teaching Fellows program. Created in 1986 to solve a shortage crisis, the program recruited top-performing high school students into the teaching profession, offering competitive, four-year scholarships in return for teaching in North Carolina public schools for at least four years. The General Assembly eliminated the program effective March 1, 2015.
In addition to meeting the demand for teachers, the program elevated the status of the teaching profession and produced educators that stayed in the profession longer than other teachers. The program has 8,523 graduates, of which 79 percent remained teaching in North Carolina after the required four years.
The loss of the Teaching Fellows program comes at a time when North Carolina is facing declining enrollment in university education programs and losing teachers to other states that offer higher pay. Can North Carolina afford to lose this program?