National teacher crisis hits New Hampshire!

 

There is a teacher shortage in the nation, and the problem is worse in New Hampshire than in other states.

  • Teacher retirement
    • The teachers who got their teacher preparation and college degrees under the National Defense Education Act in the 1960's are retiring.
  • Population Growth
    • According to the 2000 census, NH is the fastest-growing state in the Northeast.
    • New Hampshire's population has increased 11.4% in the past decade.

 

During the last nine years, the New Hampshire average teacher-salary rank, compared to other states, has fallen.

  • NH has fallen into the bottom half among states.
  • As late as 1994, our rank was 22nd.
  • By 2000 our rank had dropped to 27th.
    • The average salary of a NH public school teacher in 2000 was $4,000 below the national average. ($41,724 vs. $37,734)
    • NH has slipped two places in the rankings since 1999.
    • NH falls 13 places in rank below the national average.
    • NH falls behind Southern states that paid poorly in the past but have realized the need to improve teacher salaries.  Georgia (17th), North Carolina (22nd), and Virginia (26th).

 

By contrast, while average teacher salary rank was dropping, wealth has been increasing (average income was rising).

  • In 2000, New Hampshire was among the top five states in income growth, at 9.5%, the fourth highest in the nation.
  • NH is now the 6th wealthiest state in the nation, based on per capita income.
    • In 1994 NH ranked 9th in per capita income. 
  • During the decade of the 90's, NH per capita income grew faster than the national average and now exceeds the national average by $3,6000.

 

College women now have many career choices, and can no longer be counted on to fill low-paying teaching jobs.

  • In the 60's, when the teachers of the generation that will soon retire were getting their education, most people choosing to teach were women.  They had been brought up with a cultural bias that gave them few options for professions.  There was an assumption that they would become teachers, nurses or secretaries.
  • The range of professional opportunities for college-educated women is now unlimited.  Women can choose higher-paying jobs such as accounting, engineering, law, medicine or computer programming.

 

We face stiff competition for new teachers.

  • On our southern border, Massachusetts is offering signing bonuses to new teachers.
  • Another New England state, Connecticut, offers the highest average teacher salaries in the nation and is aggressively recruiting.

 

These factors explain why the status quo will no longer work to recruit and retain the well trained and qualified teachers we need for every classroom and every student in our public schools.

 

NH must offer competitive salaries.

  • NH citizens understand this.  A poll done by NEA-NH in the spring reveals that a majority of the public believes that teachers are underpaid.
  • Salaries need to be strengthened if we are going to attract and retain qualified teachers.
  • Teaching is a profession requiring a four-year college degree, specialized training and certification.  Beginning teachers must pass an exam to demonstrate their qualifications.  Professional teachers should have professional salaries.
  • Some NH jobs that offer beginning salaries of $40,000 or more are: computer software engineer, industrial production manager, chemical engineer, sales manager, art director, and even dental hygienist. (Based on NH Occupational Employment and Wages Report, 4th qtr., 1999, [April, 2001] NH Department of Employment Security, Information and Labor Market Information Bureau.



How does Conval match up with other excellent school systems in NH?