Here’s an interesting article in the New York Times about the state of teaching and shortage of jobs. School district budget cuts nationwide have created a historic surplus of more than 150,000 teachers in the job market. Going forward, as school districts engage in teacher contract negotiations, this may create a different situation for the teacher unions. Will the supply and demand of available teachers influence TESD decisions?
Teachers Facing Weakest Market in Years
By WINNIE HU
Published: May 19, 2010
PELHAM, NY – In the month since Pelham Memorial High School in Westchester County advertised seven teaching jobs, it has been flooded with 3,010 applications from candidates as far away as California. The Port Washington District on Long Island is sorting through 3,620 applications for eight positions — the largest pool the superintendent has seen in his 41-year career.
Even hard-to-fill specialties are no longer so hard to fill. Jericho, N.Y., has 963 people to choose from for five spots in special education, more than twice as many as in past years. In Connecticut, chemistry and physics jobs in Hartford that normally attract no more than 5 candidates have 110 and 51, respectively.
The recession seems to have penetrated a profession long seen as recession-proof. Superintendents, education professors and people seeking work say teachers are facing the worst job market since the Great Depression. Amid state and local budget cuts, cash-poor urban districts like New York City and Los Angeles, which used to hire thousands of young people every spring, have taken down the help-wanted signs.
Even upscale suburban districts are preparing for huge levels of layoffs. School officials and union leaders estimate than more than 150,000 teachers nationwide could lose their jobs next year, far more than any other time, including the last major financial crisis of the 1970s.
At the University of Pennsylvania, most of the 90 aspiring teachers who graduated last weekend are jobless. Many had counted on offers from the Philadelphia public schools but had their interviews canceled this month after the district announced a hiring freeze.
“We’re trying to encourage everyone to hold on,” said Kathy Schultz, an education professor at Penn. “But that’s very difficult because students have taken out loans and want to be assured of a job.”
If there is an upside to the shortage of teaching jobs, it is that schools now have their pick of candidates. Teach for America, which places graduates from some of the nation’s top colleges in poor schools, has seen applications increase by nearly a third this year to 46,000 — for 4,500 slots. From Ivy League colleges alone, there are 1,688 would-be teachers.