RALEIGH – A newly revamped N.C. Teaching Fellows scholarship program is before the state legislature now after a coalition of the state’s top brass in education presented it at the NCSU Center for Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center. The new Teaching Fellows program provides up to $8,500 in scholarships for people to go into teaching special education or Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). These are the areas that are the most difficult for teacher recruitment. spellings The program replaces the N.C.
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Barefoot, Horn Unveil North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program
Raleigh, N.C. – Sen. Chad Barefoot (R-Wake) and Rep. Craig Horn (R-Union) on Thursday unveiled the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program – establishing a distinguished, forgivable loan program for teachers who demonstrate a desired commitment to serve in STEM or special education subject areas and agree to teach in North Carolina’s Public Schools.
Sen. Barefoot and Rep. Horn were joined by top education legislators and other leaders of the education community, including: UNC President Margaret Spellings, State Superintendent Mark Johnson, NCICU President Dr. Hope Williams, NCSU Chancellor Dr. Randy Woodson, and leadership from the NCSU College of Education at the Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center on North Carolina State University’s Centennial Campus.
“This will ensure that the greatest needs of our public schools are being met by highly qualified teachers,” said Sen. Barefoot. “North Carolina Teaching Fellows establishes a distinguished forgivable loan program for students who demonstrate a desired commitment to teach in STEM or special education subject areas in North Carolina’s Public Schools.
The purpose of the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program is to recruit, prepare, and support students attending North Carolina’s top education programs for preparation as highly effective STEM or special education teachers in the State’s public schools. Students participating in the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program will receive up to $8,250 per year in forgivable loans if they commit to teach in a STEM or a special needs area. The bill also allows teaching fellows recipients that go on to teach in a low-performing school to have their loans forgiven faster.
The 2015-2016 North Carolina State of the Teaching Profession report shows that since 2013, the top five most difficult to staff subject areas, as reported by the local school districts, are math, science and special education across different grade levels. In 2015, ninety school districts reported having difficulty staffing High School Math teachers.
“North Carolina has a rich and proud heritage of quality education.,” said Rep. Horn. “We believe that the North Carolina Teaching Fellows will play a substantial role in raising the bar even further by supporting strong educator preparation programs that develop strong educators in our classrooms.”
North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program Highlights
• The North Carolina Teaching Fellows program establishes a distinguished forgivable loan program for teachers who demonstrate a desired commitment to serve in STEM or Special Education subject areas and agree to teach in our North Carolina Public Schools.
• The purpose of the program is to recruit, prepare and support students residing in or attending institutions of higher education located in North Carolina for preparation as highly effective STEM or special education teachers in the state’s public schools.
• The bill establishes the “North Carolina Teaching Fellows Commission” through appointments by the UNC Board of Governors and the General Assembly.
• The commission will be comprised of academic deans, teachers, principals, a member from business and industry and a local school board member.
• Serving in an ex-officio capacity will be the NC Teacher of the Year, Principal of the Year, Superintendent of the Year, Chair of the SEAA and Director of the Teaching Fellows Program.
• The Commission will determine both the student selection criteria and select the award recipients.
• The Commission will also set stringent criteria and choose the 5 most effective teacher preparation programs in North Carolina to participate in the Teaching Fellows Program.
• The UNC Board of Governors will appoint a director to the program who will be responsible for aggressive and strategic recruitment activities including:
• Targeting regions of the state with the highest teacher attrition rates and recruitment challenges
• Actively engaging with educators, business leaders, community leaders throughout North Carolina
• Attracting candidates in STEM and special education to the program.
• The Superintendent of Public Instruction will be responsible for identifying and providing to the Commission a list of STEM and special education licensure areas that are seriously needed so that the Commission has up-to-date information on the state’s greatest needs.
• The amount of the forgivable loan is up to $8,250.
• Any student with a high school, associates or bachelor’s degree is eligible. Even students who wish to transfer or change their majors are eligible.
• The loan forgiveness commitment is structured like this:
• Teachers have 10 years to pay back the loan.
• For every year a teacher was awarded a forgivable loan, they have to serve one year in a low performing school. Or:
• For every year a teacher was awarded a forgivable loan, they have to serve two years…or some combination of both.
• The State Education Assistance Authority will administer the loan portion of the program.
• The amount proposed in this bill is $6,000,000 or about 160 teachers per year.