Proposed Law Puts Professors in the K-12 Classroom
- By Dian Schaffhauser
Between 2010 and 2015, the enrollment of education majors in 15 University of North Carolina institutions with schools of education dropped from 15,000 to 10,454, a 30 percent reduction. According to the university system, a quarter of the state's public school teachers leave the job in their first five years. While teacher recruitment and retention appears to be a nationwide problem, North Carolina is tackling the situation by proposing legislation that would allow faculty from higher education to work as adjunct instructors within K-12 schools in core academic subjects without a teaching license.
Senate Bill 448, known as "Professors in the Classroom," would allow school districts to contract with a college instructor to serve as an adjunct instructor" as long as he or she can pass a criminal background check and comes prepared to teach younger students. That means undergoing preservice training from an educator "preparation program" on subjects that don't come up much in a college environment: student management, communicating for "defusing and de-escalating disruptive or dangerous behavior," "safe and appropriate use of seclusion and restraint," and identifying and working with children with disabilities.
Candidates also can't be employed for more than 20 hours per week or, if they're going to work full-time, it can't last longer than six months.
These "adjunct" teachers won't be eligible for paid leave or participation in the teacher retirement systems, nor will they receive benefits in the state health plan.
If the bill passes the Senate, it must pass muster with the House and then be signed by the Governor.
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @schaffhauser.