North Carolina law would let K-12 fill vacancies with college professors

Dive Brief:

  • Facing a potentially bleak shortage of K-12 educators, North Carolina’s state legislature has proposed a new bill that would allow professors in higher ed to teach in K-12 classes as adjunct faculty without first obtaining a teacher’s license.
  • Higher ed faculty could only work up to 20 hours per week, or for only six months if working full-time, according to the proposed bill, additionally being required to undergo criminal background checks and take “preparation programs” on classroom issues that don't pertain to college courses, like student management or defusing dangerous behavior.
  • The “Professors in the Classroom” bill would have to pass the state's Senate and House and be signed by the governor to become law, and college professors working in K-12 classrooms would not eligible for paid leave, teacher retirement or state health benefits.

Dive Insight:

Initially, the proposed legislation seems to address two problems the state faces. North Carolina could benefit from a supply of accomplished educators to close teacher shortages, while professors could find another revenue stream. With adjunct professors increasingly considering their lifestyle through a “freelance” lens, another source of income would be a welcome opportunity.

But burnout remains a concern. If adjunct professors find their way toward making a satisfactory income through a variety of jobs, it could be problematic to charge them with K-12 education, which demands patience and preparation prior to the classroom. Would adjunct professors be stretched to the limit in taking on such a task, developing lesson plans and directing classroom explorations for the benefit of students? Former college professor Keith Rezendes previously told Education Dive that one-on-one tutoring was a financial windfall for an adjunct professor used to scraping together enough money to survive, and that seems like a more likely route for professors to take,  given lower demands for preparation when compared to drafting lessons and approaches for a K-12 class.

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Filed Under: Higher Ed K12 Policy & Regulation
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