GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – The North Carolina State Board of Education is trying to get more people in the teaching field and keeping them in classrooms. One way they’re looking at doing this is through a policy that would change the way teachers get paid.

“If you can start at 37 versus start at 45, everybody I know would rather start at 45. And even 45 there could be a question about is 45 high enough and that’s certainly a legitimate question but 45 is higher than 37,” said Van Dempsey, dean of the Watson College of Education at UNCW.

Dempsey is also the chair of the Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission also known as PEPSC. Dempsey said recommendations have been made to change pay policies, which would include both years of experience and teacher effectiveness.

“What we are proposing is not one or the other. It’s both. And that effectiveness component is about understanding the complexity of teacher practice, so we understand those things that happen in classrooms that lead to positive student learning outcomes because that becomes a knowledge base we use to support other teachers,” said Dempsey.

A report by the North Carolina Department of Public Instructions states there’s a 58% increase in vacant teaching positions in public schools across the state during the 2021-2022 school year.

One huge factor that is keeping people out of the classroom or leaving the field is pay. With the new model, NC school officials hope it will fix this issue.

“One part of it is about how teachers become better over time. The second piece is how do we retain teachers and keep them in the profession and our goal is to be able to do both,” said Dempsey.

PEPSC is also proposing extra pay for those with a Master’s degree and national board certification in addition to experience and effectiveness. Dempsey said the goal is to support those in the teaching profession and children in classrooms.