University of North Carolina leaders agree that improving teacher education must be a priority. In his April 2006 inaugural address, UNC President Erskine Bowles put teacher education at the top of his reform agenda for the university system. He said:
While our 15 [UNC] schools of education continue to produce the majority of the state’s teachers, principals, and superintendents, we don’t produce nearly enough of them. As a result, our state has a crying need for more teachers, better teachers, science and math teachers, stronger curriculum, and better trained principals. Over the course of the past year, UNC campuses produced more than 3,900 potential teachers, yet today North Carolina must hire more than 11,000 teachers each year.
Bowles pointed to two problems with teacher-education programs in North Carolina: teacher supply and teacher quality. The limited number of teachers, particularly math and science teachers, that the UNC system produces may be a legitimate area of concern, but stronger teacher-recruitment efforts are already underway.
Read the rest of the Spotlight report, here.