CHCCS officials speak out after spending $6,000 on Jamaica trip to hire teachers

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – After spending thousands of dollars on a trip to Jamaica to recruit new teachers, the chair of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School Board spoke out about the reason for the trip at Thursday night’s meeting.

“All the districts in North Carolina, not just our district, are facing this new challenge of less people going into teaching,” said Joal Broun, chair of the CHCCS school board.

Broun said this has led them to think outside the box, as they have started recruited teachers from other countries including China, Colombia, Argentina, Jamaica, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Mexico, and Spain.

In addition, she also listed almost a dozen universities in North Carolina where they recruit from – as well as out-of-state universities.

“We continue to do the work of the district to get qualified teachers,” Broun said.

CBS 17 asked officials with UNC’s school of education about their thoughts on school districts recruiting teachers from out of the country.

“While that’s a creative solution for addressing the shortage in our state, I think it may be shortsighted in the sense of maybe being able to think about teachers who understand the context and know the culture,” said Kristin Papoi, Director of the Master of Arts teaching program at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Papoi said the number of students enrolled as education majors at UNC-CH has actually gone up.

“We have doubled our program in size over the past year, so there are lots more students interested in becoming teachers which is wonderful,” Papoi said.

According to stats from the UNC system, around the time of the recession, there was a more than 30 percent drop in the number of undergrads pursuing education degrees.

Officials at UNC-CH said there have been more resources provided to attract more students back to the field of teaching. This includes the loan forgiveness program, where a student’s loan will be paid for if they go teach in a high needs area of North Carolina.

“If we were able to get back to the resources we had before the recession, not only for our schools but our schools of education and colleges of education, then we would be able to address the teacher shortage in pre-recession numbers,” Papoi said.

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools isn’t the only district that has recruited teachers from other countries.

Wake County and Durham Public Schools have hired teachers from other countries as well.

While WCPSS has made trips to other countries to interview teachers, DPS conducts their interviews through skype.

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