Teachers Tempted to Leave Calif. A nearly $5 billion dollar shortfall for education funding in California has resulted in some 14,000 pink slips. Fort Worth school district is targeting teachers in San Diego with a billboard that beckon, "Your Future Is in Our Classroom."
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Teachers Tempted to Leave Calif.

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Teachers Tempted to Leave Calif.

Teachers Tempted to Leave Calif.

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This is Day to Day. I'm Alex Chadwick.


And I'm Madeleine Brand, with the turning lemons into lemonade story of the day. Thousands of California teachers are facing layoffs. As you may know, California is facing a huge budget crisis. Well, now other states are trying to lure those teachers. Recruiters are offering signing bonuses and promises of a less expensive life. We have more now from Gloria Hillard.

GLORIA HILLARD: Texas high school principal Doug Williams knew this stop at Hoover High in San Diego was going to be different than the other schools he was visiting this day.

(Soundbite of children talking)

Unidentified Girl: Hi, Mr. Williams, I love you.

HILLARD: For six years, he was a principal here. But on this day, he has another job.

Mr. DOUG WILLIAMS (Recruiter, Fort Worth Independent School District): I'm here to try to recruit teachers out to Texas, and get some of the best and the brightest to come join us.

HILLARD: Williams, who moved to Texas a year ago, is here on behalf of the Fort Worth Independent School District. At the first announcement of large-scale teacher layoffs in California, the Texas school district took out billboard ads here that read, your future is in our classroom. This was the personal invitation.

Mr. WILLIAMS: I've been hunting for you. I came here personally to give you that, to say if you are thinking about getting out of California, and you want a job, I'd hire you on the spot.

Unidentified Man: Thank you.

Mr. WILLIAMS: And they have - I think it's a 3,000 dollar signing bonus for English teachers.

Unidentified Man: Yeah?

Mr. WILLIAMS: And up to 13,000 dollars in incentives.

HILLARD: While Doug Williams continued his pitch on campus, at a nearby hotel, Fort Worth's job fair was in full swing.

Ms. THERESE HARKOWA: Hopefully we'll get some great teachers today. That's what we're looking forward to.

HILLARD: Fort Worth recruiter Therese Harkowa said more than three dozen teachers had scheduled job interviews, but she'll tell them...

Ms. HARKOWA: Our teachers have voices. Our teachers have salaries where they can, you know, buy a house.

HILLARD: The message of a cheaper cost of living, plus a signing salary of more than 47,000 dollars, sold California teacher Kelly Francois (ph).

So you're serious?

Ms. KELLY FRANCOIS (Recruited Teacher): I'm serious. I'm single. I have no children. I'm willing to go anywhere, so...

(Soundbite of laughter)

HILLARD: About three hours north of San Diego, in Englewood, California, Miguel Barahona (ph) teaches first grade.

Mr. MIGUEL BARAHONA: All right, boys and girls. Now, go ahead and fold it in half.

Unidentified Boy: I already did!

Mr. BARAHONA: All right, thank you. You guys are sharp.

HILLARD: Even under the governor's revised budget proposal, Barahona's pink slip still stands.

Mr. BARAHONA: Oh, because I love teaching. Teaching, I wouldn't do anything else.

HILLARD: He says he's read the newspaper ads other states have taken out wooing teachers like himself.

Mr. BARAHONA: If I got another offer to work in education, of course I'll take it, because I love it. I know I can make a difference.

HILLARD: That worries California superintendent of public school instruction, Jack O'Connell.

Mr. JACK O'CONNELL (California State Superintendent of Public Instruction): The main argument that some of these outside California school districts are making to our teachers is that these other states value public education. They're willing to make an investment in the future.

HILLARD: O'Connell says California needs to create a learning environment that is conducive to both students and teachers.

Mr. O'CONNELL: So we need to step up to the plate, value and respect our professional educators.

HILLARD: The budget wrangling now goes back to the legislature, with California educators vowing to keep the heat on. For NPR News, I'm Gloria Hillard.

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