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‘I’m very nervous for what’s to come:’ More than 500 CMS teachers have resigned since Aug. 1

Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 6:23 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Hundreds of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teachers are saying goodbye to the classroom.

“I’m not surprised, but I am surprised by the size of the number but I’m not surprised that people are making a different choice for their selves and their families,” said Ashley Park teacher Jennifer Bourne.

As of Oct. 18, CMS reported 524 teachers have left the district since August 1, and 93 are pending separations by the end of the calendar year.

“It’s a really dark time in North Carolina for public education and I can’t imagine leaving children in it without adults who can shine light in that space,” Bourne said.

“I knew people had been talking about leaving but I had no idea it was that many people. I’m very nervous for what’s to come,” said JM Alexander English teacher Avienna Simpson.

As of Oct. 19, CMS has 9,205 active teachers.

Simpson says seeing her students’ desire to learn keeps her motivated each school day, Bourne agrees.

“I can tell that a lot of them are really ready to learn, they’re excited to be back at school,” Simpson said.

While Simpson and Bourne are staying encouraged by and for their students, they say their colleagues have a list of reasons to leave, many of which stemmed from the pandemic.

“It’s a lack of support. There’s not a feeling that we’re supported. We did not feel supported by the community last year,” Bourne.

Bourne also said many teachers are frustrated with lack of pay, changing grading scales, and hyperfocus on test scores and student performance.

Both teachers say there needs to be an increase in social-emotional learning, therapy, and counseling for students dealing with behavioral and mental health circumstances.

Bourne says it’s beyond CMS and is calling out state leaders for their lack of support.

“Our general assembly - this is negligence on steroids. We don’t have the resources, we don’t have the things, we don’t have the people that we need,” Bourne said.

Simpson is also calling on parents to support teachers in working with their children to help prepare for day-to-day learning and communicating their child’s emotional needs.

CMS does have a leveling process based on enrollment which includes reassigning teachers to schools with vacancies and avoiding layoffs.

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