As of this post, there are thousands of vacancies in the state of North Carolina.

According to a recent study, NC ranks 11th in teacher shortage rates.

That report is based on this study of the number of teachers as measured against the population.

One quick and effective action the state could take is to allow retired teachers to reenter the profession as classroom teachers full time or part time while still allowing them to collect the retirement pension they already have earned.

It is commonly referred to as “double-dipping” and some lawmakers would scream that there would be teachers earning way too much money to teach our students. But they would be wrong.

Retired teachers already get a pension whether they teach or not. They earned that for their service based on criteria already established by the state years ago. It’s precedent. Paying them to be teachers in the current setting is the same as paying other teachers who would possibly fill those vacant positions.

And yes, those retired teachers who reentered the classroom should be paid by their years of experience. They had licenses and are already trained and shown to be consummate professionals. Besides the amount of money that the state has been able to “save” because so many budgeted positions have never been filled and the salaries for them never paid already shows there are ready funds not associated with pandemic emergency funds.

North Carolina would be getting veteran NC teachers to help fill vacant positions. Literally no training necessary and one thing that our schools desperately need is a veteran presence to help younger professionals. It”s a way of retaining teachers in a profession that is increasingly getting younger.

Plus our students benefit. And while the NC General Assembly would want to always quantify the worth of veteran teachers with a dollar figure, can they really not see how this would be a cost-effective way to help our schools?


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Clarence Choe