Monday, April 27, 2009

Another Education Myth Bites the Dust.

The following is in response to the Editorial in the Union Leader.

Cathy Peschke

So much for the phony, union created "teacher shortage" myth.

In any other field of human endeavor, such a steep labor surplus would drive wages down where they belong. In government monopoly education, we just retain poor teachers making far more than the competent teachers ready and willing to take their place.

Is it any wonder our property taxes are so high (No, its not because we don't have an income tax!)?
Jim Peschke

1,200 applied for 40 high school jobs in Windham
Union Leader Correspondent

WINDHAM – School officials say they have found an upside to the economic turmoil of recent months, tapping into a large pool of experienced and enthusiastic prospective teachers for the new high school.

According to Superintendent Frank Bass, the district received over 1,200 applications for about 40 open professional positions within the new high school, some from neighboring schools and others from as far away as Africa. While Bass said it is not unusual to see a high level of interest in positions within a new school, the nation's economic woes have been to the benefit of the district.

"It's been to our advantage ... there's no doubt in my mind," Bass said. "We had them come in from a lot of places. Usually these people were fearful of how their positions were going to be maintained in their current schools."

As Windham opens up classroom positions to educators across the country, other districts are downsizing. In Salem, school officials declined to renew a total of 13 teacher contracts and Nashua may cut more than 10 teaching positions as officials hammer out the budget. Five teaching positions have also been cut in nearby Merrimack.

Just as the poor economy and municipal budget cuts have increased the pool of potential educators, Bass said the advantages his district's new facility offers teachers also plays a role. Classrooms will be equipped with SMART Boards and each student will be issued a school laptop to use both in class and at home as part of the district's one-to-one computing program. The high school will also have a partnership with Boston College and Plymouth State University, Bass said.

According to Principal Richard Manley, the technologically friendly environment at Windham High School has become one of the larger attractions for prospective staff.

"Almost every teacher has cited the idea of the advantages of technology as a draw to the Windham High School. They relate stories of the difficulties they have in their own schools (where) their equipment is older and not working or they're scheduling the available equipment among other teachers and students," Manley said. "We are attracting a pool of candidates that are more technologically savvy than we would otherwise have."

Manley also believes an interdisciplinary approach to teaching the school intends to adopt for next year's first class of freshmen and sophomore students has attracted educators. Students at the high school will take a humanities class -- a blending of social studies and English courses -- taught by teachers trained in both fields.

While Manley and Bass have finished with the first round of hirings, Manley said he expects to hire more educators as the high school population expands in subsequent years.

For the time being, Bass is pleased with the crop of teachers that will take center stage when the building opens its doors for the first time at the start of the new school year.

"We're really thrilled," he said. "We've got a wonderful cross-section; we've hired some kids and some seasoned veterans."

No comments: