In a time of fiscal austerity, it is easy to lose sight of the future because of the urgencies of the now. But just as the hungry owner of a milk cow makes a bad miscalculation by slaughtering the cow for its meat, it is equally short-sighted to kill successful programs with no thought to the long-term consequences.
I am writing to appeal to you to continue funding the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching.
I make this appeal as an alumnus of NCCAT, and as a classroom teacher with 20 years' worth of experience. NCCAT is a lifeline to teachers who are overwhelmed with the challenges of their service to the students of North Carolina.
ESPECIALLY in tough times, this organization is a vital source of affirmation, rejuvenation, and validation for teachers. While some may think that teachers lead pampered and self-indulgent professional lives, anyone who has any contact at all with public education knows that it just isn't so. Career teachers work very hard, for little compensation and often for little recognition.
Teaching is a demanding job—demanding in ways that the average citizen just never sees. And retention of new teachers is an increasingly difficult challenge, given the low pay, the heavy work load, and the low esteem that seems to be the current ethos nationally. Anything that the state can do to hold on to good and promising teachers is an investment that will pay dividends down the road.
NCCAT is particularly valuable at holding on to teachers who are early in their careers, because it is an organization that reminds them that what they do is valuable, and valued. I personally know more than one younger colleague who was planning to leave the classroom, but who recommitted to the profession after an NCCAT seminar. That's what NCCAT does best.
These are fiscally hungry times across North Carolina, and across the nation. But please don't eat the seed corn that the future depends on. Doing so might assuage hunger in the short term, but it will do so at the expense of robbing the future.
I urge you to continue to fund the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching.