Sunday, May 17, 2015
The Teacher Shortage Is Here!
I have previously predicted a severe teacher shortage within five years. This prediction was based on fewer applicants going into the education field, especially the classroom. A colleague of mine works as an adjunct professor in the education program of a well respected university in the city and told me his schedule was reduced by half and fewer students are in his remaining classes. More importantly, when he surveyed his students. he found that 75% never intended to step into the classroom. Worse, when high school students were polled about becoming a teacher, few considered the profession due to the media attacks on the teaching professionr. As for teacher preparation, there has been a steep drop in teaching applicants nationwide and especially in States like New York.
Now it seems after years of recessionary austerity, the New York City suburbs are now hiring teachers for the first time since 2007. The extra State money, the lessening of the pension costs due to a more favorable contribution schedule, more teachers leaving the profession before being vested, the implementation of less costly pension Tiers (V and VI), and the austerity that cut the teaching force to the bone along with the increased retirements of the "baby boomers" has resulted in a hiring frenzy for the 2015-16 school year. The expectations are that over 1,000 new positions will be filled and over a 1,000 more will be hired to replace retirements throughout the New York City suburbs. If the more punitive teacher evaluations are as bad as predicted, look for increased retirements and a ever shrinking applicant pool to replace them.
In a school in the building I am in, I heard an administrator say that they advertized a Math vacancy in the DOE's new teacher finder for the next school year and received no responses. Two years ago a similar Math vacancy had 25 applicants in the first two weeks! With the suburbs hiring, many potential applicants due to their attraction of the higher pay and better working conditions, the City cannot compete. Moreover, in New York City "quality teachers" will flee to the suburban schools for higher pay, lower class sizes, and a more disciplined student population.
Teaching in the New York City schools is a high stress occupation with incompetent and poorly-trained administrators micromanaging the teacher, excess paperwork requirements, large class sizes, lax student discipline standards, and inadequate pay. For example, even with our raise, the average New York City teacher makes about $70,000 a year. While a suburban middle class school district averages over $100,000. That means that the average New York City teacher is making 30% less than their suburban colleagues. For example, the top salary for an East Islip teacher is $147,000 while the top salary for the New York City teacher is $105,000. Is it any wonder that teachers are fleeing the City classroom for the more pleasant working conditions of the suburbs?
I thought the teacher shortage would take some time to materialize but it seems that the ever worsening classroom environment and the union's failure to get the DOE to remove the "gotcha system" that makes the classroom a hostile environment, has resulted in many teachers leaving the system and create a real hiring shortage of "quality teachers" down the road as the best candidates go to the suburbs and many others flee the system for higher pay and better working conditions. You would think that the DOE would do their best to retain their teachers, instead the DOE's "education on the cheap" policy has resulted in an exodus of "quality teachers" as their "fair student funding" policy ensures its recruitment over retention at the expense of the students academic achievement.