Teachers and the Great Economic Debate

teachers and the great economic debate

A good teacher can be the difference between a child graduating from high school or dropping out, understanding content or memorizing information, and growing up to earn a decent salary or not.

Good teachers shape students for life outside the classroom, making them well-rounded citizens with a capacity–and often a desire–for lifelong learning. Without highly effective educators, North Carolina’s students will be ill-prepared for meaningful, well-paying careers, and North Carolina runs the risk of operating without a globally competitive workforce.

top priorities from the forum

Thanks to all who participated in the 2014 Emerging Issues Forum. The grit was evident in the remarkable energy in the room at all times. 

After two thought-provoking days of discussion, learning, and collaboration, you developed several ideas for action regarding compensation, standards, professional development, and status.

Here are the top ideas that you, as a group, have determined to be most important to recruiting, rewarding, and retaining world-class teachers in North Carolina:

  • Build career ladders
  • Develop 11-Month contracts
  • Increase teacher competitiveness
  • Rebrand teaching
  • Emulate the medical profession’s structure

We ended up with five areas for action because (1) building career ladders was the top idea for both the compensation and standards areas and (2) there was a virtual tie for the three ideas in the elevating the status of teaching area.

How are you working on these priorities? Tell us what actions you’re taking in the Emerging Issues Commons here

2014, Anita Graham, Debate, Economy, Governor James B. Hunt, IEI, , NC People, Raleigh, Speakers, Teachers, The Institute for Emerging Issues Forum, teachers and the great economic debate, education, schools,

next steps

This conversation did not end after two days at the Forum. To encourage continued community engagement, the Institute for Emerging Issues has partnered with the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation and designated a virtual space for a six-week self-guided online program that is open to all who wish to participate – regardless of background or profession. Those who were unable to attend the Forum are welcomed to participate as well!

This Massive Open Online Course (MOOC-Ed) will help you:
• Clarify the economic importance of and key influences on developing, retaining and supporting a world-class teaching workforce
• Build a local team to support world-class teaching in your community
• Develop plans unique to your community
• Know where to apply for funds to implement your plan

Interested in learning more? Access MOOC Resources here.


Photos and video

Click here to view photos from the 2014 Forum. All of the videos from both days of the Forum are available here


Student Achievement

Few topics in education capture as much attention from policymakers, practitioners, and business leaders as the impact of teacher quality on student achievement.  A recent study shows that students may learn as much as three times more material from an effective teacher than an ineffective one. Longer-term, as another study suggests, students with an effective teacher are more likely to go to college, attend higher quality colleges, earn more money, live in more expensive neighborhoods, save more for retirement and, for females, are less likely to get pregnant as a teenager. This impact increases for each effective teacher that a student encounters.  The opposite is also true: students with ineffective teachers are less likely to achieve these outcomes.


economic growth

Multiply the individual impact of an effective teacher by all of the students he or she reaches each and every year and now we’re talking substantial long-term economic benefits for our state.  A highly educated workforce is essential to attracting, growing and retaining business in North Carolina. Georgetown University’s Center for Education and the Workforce predicts that by the year 2020, 61% of the new jobs created in North Carolina will require a post-secondary education. In order to meet this demand, North Carolina will need to produce at least 20% more people with post-secondary degrees by the end of the decade. If we fail to meet this talent gap, business will be forced to relocate, import talent from other states, or use technology instead of workers to get the jobs done. To remain globally competitive, North Carolina must graduate quality students prepared to enter workforce, excel at the collegiate level, or create entrepreneurial endeavors of their own.

higher education NC jobs

The Challenge

While the necessity for good teachers is rarely debated, how we go about developing such a talented pool of educators is strongly contested. As part of our work, we will convene individuals representing the wide range of perspectives on our education issue, and we want to hear your voice.

How do we train, retain and support world-class teachers in every classroom to secure NC’s future competitiveness?

Share your idea in the Emerging Issues Commons.  There, you will also find key data sets and hear stories of citizens across North Carolina who address this topic. Visit the Commons today.


What is a world-class teacher?

During the summer of 2014, we heard from students, teachers, PTA members, superintendents, Schools of Education deans, business leaders and more to uncover what it means to be a world-class teacher. Through facilitated discussions, we uncovered the challenges that exist to building a world-class teaching workforce.

Overall, we found that schools across the nation are continuing to struggle with recruiting and retaining high quality teaching talent.  An inability to recruit strong candidates into the classroom coupled with the inefficiencies of our Schools of Education has left us struggling with a teacher quality gap.  Through these discussions, we learned that many North Carolinians do not understand what role the teacher plays in our state and local economies. This includes an inability to tie education to future workforce development.

Click here to see the profile of a world-class teacher and to read more about these focus group findings.