Legislators Announce Bill to Reinstate NC Teaching Fellows Program ⋆ American Lens

Legislators Announce Bill to Reinstate NC Teaching Fellows Program

The possible return of the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program was announced yesterday by Senator Chad Barefoot (R-18, Wake) and Representative Craig Horn (R-68, Union).

The Teaching Fellows program was originally created in 1986 during Governor Jim Martin’s tenure and was originally run by the Public School Forum, which has increasingly aligned itself with progressives and Democrats.  This and other factors led to legislators voting in 2011 to end the program by May, 2015.

In a press conference at the Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center at North Carolina State University, Barefoot and Horn were joined by State Superintendent Mark Johnson, UNC President Margaret Spellings, NCICU President Dr. Hope Williams and NCSU Chancellor Dr. Randy Woodson, among others.

The proposed bill would create a, “North Carolina Teaching Fellows Commission” and appointees would be made by the UNC Board of Governors and the General Assembly.

The program’s purpose is to attract more students to entering into teaching, especially in the areas of science, technology, and math (STEM). The program comes with a forgivable loan that has a cap at $8,250 and can be paid back over a ten-year period.

Teachers taking up the loan will be required to serve at least two years in North Carolina schools or one years being at a low-performing school in the state.

The price tag for the proposed bill is $6 million dollars and would be administered by the  State Education Assistance Authority.   The bill is expected to be filed today or early next week.

View the press conference via Education NC:

Read the press release and program proposal details:

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.

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A.P. Dillon

Co-Founder, Managing Editor

A.P. Dillon is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of American Lens and is the founder the popular North Carolina based blog, LadyLiberty1885.com. ​A.P. Dillon has been a contributor at Breitbart, IJ Review, DaTechGuy Blog, Civitas Institute and The Heartland Institute. Her writing has been cited by Conservative Review, The Gateway Pundit, The Daily Caller, PJ Media, The Blaze, Michelle Malkin, Twitchy, Truth In American Education, Breitbart and FOX news. She has been a leading voice of Common Core opposition in North Carolina since 2011.

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