The North Carolina Teacher Cadet Program is a structured course of study that encourages high school students to consider entering the education profession through the program’s long-term focus on “growing our own” public school teachers. Most importantly the program encourages high school students to attend college and to eventually teach in North Carolina public schools.

The program is implemented in cooperation with school districts across the state. Rural and economically-distressed counties, which have historically had trouble recruiting and retaining quality teachers when relying on other recruiting options, have become especially dependent upon the program. Many counties report it to be an invaluable tool in preparing students for teaching careers, and statistics have shown that students who grow up in these areas are more likely to return to them after college.

With the elimination of the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program, Teacher Cadet is now North Carolina’s only sustainable teacher recruitment initiative that grows our own public school teachers. Teacher Cadet develops future educators at the point in their lives when they are exploring future career choices.

Using an exemplary 21st Century curriculum and hands-on teaching field experiences, the program gives students a positive but realistic view of the educational profession. Students who complete the program develop a passion for the teaching profession and become strong advocates for it by recruiting others to take the course. Even if a student elects to not pursue education as a career choice, the individual is better informed, more apt to engage in positive public education initiatives, and overall be a more engaged citizen of North Carolina.

The program has come full circle with former cadets now instructing in Teacher Cadet classrooms. Careers in education are supply and demand positions. Therefore, while the North Carolina Teacher Cadet Program cannot create job opportunities, we strive to provide a diverse, well-educated, teaching workforce to fill North Carolina’s demands.

Statistics show that states with strong public schools attract businesses and other economic growth opportunities. Creating strong public school educators is central to creating strong public schools.