“I am convinced it is a good program.” Those are the comments of House speaker Tom Tillis who raised the eye brows of conservatives last Friday when he said law makers were rethinking their decision to eliminate the Teaching Fellows program (See news article). Phasing out of the Teaching Fellows program was part of the state budget deal approved in June. (To read why I believe eliminating the Teaching Fellows program was the right choice, click here).
Tillis acknowledged receiving considerable feedback from program graduates, superintendents etc. While that is understandable, I’d simply ask the speaker: Were you presented with evidence that demonstrates the program is working? Did you find Teaching Fellows are dramatically boosting student performance and filling teaching jobs?
Every program has its advocates. However that doesn’t justify continued funding– especially in an era of budget reductions. A recent survey by the Department of Public Instruction found that less than half (49 percent) of the graduates of UNC education schools have jobs one year after completing their programs. In 2009, the N&O reported on the difficulties of Teaching Fellows finding jobs. Two years later, there has been little if any improvement in the job market; in many respects the job market for teachers and educators has actually worsened.
According to the Department of Public Instruction, since 2008-09 over 6,100 teacher positions have been eliminated and over 2,100 teachers laid off. Does it make any sense to continue to subsidize a program that has failed to produce measureable results and whose many graduates will likely only continue to have difficulty finding employment?
A good program? In these times that’s not sufficient reason to warrant funding. Where are the good results? I’m listening.