Wednesday, May 17, 2006


The Myth of a Teacher Shortage

We have heard this in North Carolina for a number of years now. What is all this about a teacher shortage? How can this be true? Aren't teachers actually overpaid for only 10 months of work?'s the issue:

The Myth of the teacher shortage

Upon having a conversation with a fellow co-worker on the subject of public school teachers 'needing' raises because of the alleged teacher shortage, I decided to do a little thinking on the subject to see what all was really involved.

My initial opinion on the subject lead me to believe that it was rather common knowledge that the teacher unions of each state actively pursue legislation and regulation to artificially restrict the supply of available teachers, thereby creating this alleged teacher shortage. (just like doctors with medical schools)

Not only are we talking about the certification, the testing, and the education degree, but also the limitations to more qualified individuals, who are forced to revert to taking basic level courses to teach a subject matter that they are more highly qualified to teach than those with a general undergraduate degree. Of course, I am talking about the lateral entry individuals who have degrees in the actual subject area they desire to teach, giving the education degree additional credence beyond its real value.

Then we have limitations on mobility across states, and even any times across counties and cities, where each laborer who would like to participate in the workforce is cut short because of excessive and unnecessary regulation. A fine example is the special law that had to be passed in many states, just to let Louisiana teachers teach in other states after Katrina. How absurd is this really? Why do we need to have a special session to artificially measure "competency" in the workplace? North Carolina didn't even pass their law in fact. I guess the teachers were worried about a little competition at the expense of individuals that really needed help. It is really a fine example of the myth of a teacher shortage.

But aren't teachers paid too little? I mean, that's what I always hear. But, who isn't? Is there anyone who could honestly say that they (individually) are being paid too much?

Laslty, we have the legitimizing factor, the win-all in the arguement for a teacher's raise: the measure of the national average for teacher's salaries.

Apparently we are always under the national average, and so an annual increase of 8%, if all other states do similar ammounts, will keep us below the national average. That doesn't really tell us that anyone is deserving of a raise, does it? Also, what about the cost of living? Or merit-based raises? Isn't there a better way to gauge "deserving"?

So, I suppose it is true that there is a teacher shortage, but only because it is self imposed.

Really Good Post!

Spot on correct and well written.
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