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The job market for teachers

There are still some jobs available for new teachers and teachers looking for a new gig, but not nearly as many as there have been in the past.

Because of the Legislature’s initial $4 billion cut from public school funding, districts are slicing at least 6 percent from their budgets for the first year of the biennium. Options for grads trying to get their foot in the teaching door look bleak. But as districts work out budgets for the coming school year, many are finding a little more room than expected to hire new teachers because of resignations, retirements and pre-emptive cuts.

“Some districts, like those in San Antonio, may have skewed things when they offered incentives or people decided to retire,” said Linda Bridges, president of Texas American Federation of Teachers. “So districts will have to hire, but not in the large numbers they were before.”

Based on a general survey of most districts, the number of new teachers hired is down by 74 percent from last year. Though districts are hiring, open positions are limited. Many are shuffling employees to fill newly consolidated positions. Chalkley said she hit many such walls — notices stamped “For internal applicants only” — when applying in the Austin Independent School District.

In addition to the lower hiring and recruiting numbers, teachers are being hired later in the year. Jobs typically available in April or May might not appear until August, if at all, and graduates are starting to panic, said Denise Staudt, dean of the Dreeben School of Education at the University of the Incarnate Word.

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The schools are emphasizing the long-term outlook.

“We’re telling them that this isn’t going to last forever, people will start retiring and things will turn around a little bit,” said Blanche Desjean-Perrotta, associate dean for teacher education at UTSA.

When positions open, districts are likely to hire those on probationary leave or already within the district. Such was the case with Judson ISD, where officials cut teaching positions in April, but in the wake of retirements and resignations hired back 60 who had been put on leave.

The Teacher Retirement System of Texas has seen a 25 percent increase in retirements since 2006, climbing to 16,706 in 2010. If those numbers continue to rise, districts will have to hire more than they planned, Bridges said.

“If people are reading the economic forecast and looking at some of the job statistics, we have an aging workforce across the country,” [Shari Albright, chairwoman of Trinity’s department of education] said. “Consequently, statistics would tell us we need new cadres of teachers.”

Prospects are still pretty good for the long term. Texas still has a young and growing population, and that means teachers will be needed. The short term is going to be hard, and the bargain newer teachers will be getting won’t be as good as those who came before them got. There’s a danger that the best and brightest will leave to find jobs elsewhere, and that fewer people will be encouraged to pursue education as a career, which may leave districts in the lurch when they need to start hiring again. To use a word that Republicans seem to favor these days, there’s a lot of uncertainty out there.

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2 Comments

  1. I wouldn’t encourage anyone to be an education major with teaching fields in science, mathematics, or several other fields because there is much more money to be made by going into private sector work. Texas doesn’t appreciate the dedicated educators it has and I don’t expect it to change anytime soon. Education is a cooperative profession but with Republicans wanting it to be a competitive profession with the teacher in the next room making more money over the score on one test, the trend is bad for the profession. The testing company is the only one that benefits from the over emphasis on testing, not students, not future employers, not teachers, not schools, not the state, but the testing company.

  2. […] people who aren’t working but could be, and those vacant positions are a reminder that the job market for teachers is brutal. The fact that the situation isn’t as bad as the apocalyptic scenario that was […]