Building a World-Class Teaching Workforce: Overcoming Barriers

Building a World-Class Teaching Workforce: Overcoming Barriers

Educators and those building a world-class teaching workforce face a series of barriers, particularly related to recruitment and preparation, retention, engagement and support for teachers. 


  • For a variety of reasons, K-12 students do not see the teaching profession as a desirable career path, limiting the number of bright students pursuing a career in education.
  • The teaching profession needs to be rebranded as a viable career path and one worthy of value and respect so teachers can stand alongside business leaders and other community leaders as equals with a vested interest in our state’s schools.
  • There is a need to look at how / who we recruit students to School of Education Programs.  We should be attracting the brightest students from across the state and beyond into our Education Programs. 
  • The Schools of Education have widely differing preparation methods for becoming a teacher, with some providing classroom exposure early and others not until the junior year.


  • Business and community networks must be better constructed to connect teachers with public and private leaders who are able to help bring to the classroom resources and relevancy not readily available to teachers.
  • The teaching profession needs room for advancement beyond leaving the classroom and taking on an administrative role.  Current career pathways do not lead teachers to feel a sense of leadership, advancement or career satisfaction.  


  • Successful teachers need supportive and shared leadership, a supportive environment and professional development.
  • There is a need across the state for a clear community vision with buy-in and support from the business community, faith-based organizations, community partners and parents.  

strategies to move forward

Following our facilitated discussions with students, teachers, PTA members, superintendents, Schools of Education deans, business leaders and more, we’ve uncovered six themes, or strategies, to address these barriers.

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Content table

economic impact

A highly trained and well-educated workforce is the most important component to any economy, and this begins in the classroom. Producing students who are college and career ready will ensure North Carolina’s competitiveness in the global marketplace and will drive the economic expansion.

recruiting and rebranding

In order to build the greatest possible teaching workforce, the profession must be branded as one that is valued and respected, so that we attract the brightest students to the profession. Actions to positively influence perceptions of the teaching workforce combined with programs that recruit some of the best students and professionals to become educators will build a strong foundation for our classrooms.

teacher training and professional development

Investigating what practices a School of Education Program can implement to ensure teachers enter the classroom with the most effective pedagogical practices, and then continuing to support them throughout their career are essential steps to ensuring that a teacher’s impact is never diminished.  Professional development, both with an internal focus on the classroom and a peripheral one around relevancy and the external environment, will expose teachers to the tools they need to drive student success.


Over the past twenty years, the teaching work force has become less-experienced and younger – teacher turnover has grown 25%, according to the Consortium for Policy Research in Education.  When a high quality teacher decides to leave the classroom, we lose on student outcomes.  While little room for career advancement and relatively low pay are often cited as the primary reasons teachers leave the profession; a non-supportive work environment as well as a lack of supportive and shared leadership has led many of the brightest and most passionate teachers to leave the position.

career pathways

The most direct route to advancement for an educator is to leave the classroom taking on an administrative role.  By building career pathways that allow for teachers to lead less experienced colleagues and disseminate their best practices, teachers can fulfill a sense of leadership, advancement and career satisfaction.

Community partnerships

Business and community networks must be constructed to connect teachers with public and private leaders who are able to help bring to the classroom insights on relevancy and other resources not readily available to teachers.  Granting teachers the ability to immerse their students in relevant real-world experiences and connecting them to the larger community for which we are preparing them to be engaged citizens will positively prepare them for the global marketplace.