We all know, the COVID pandemic has been incredibly difficult for anyone in education, and particularly teachers. This has led to fewer new teachers entering the job market, fewer college students pursuing education degrees, and more teachers quitting their jobs. Eventually, this will drive up teacher salaries nationwide, if it hasn’t already in your area. This is great. Historically, teachers have been undercompensated.
Hiring teachers will get harder and harder
This will cause additional strain on the independent school business model
The teacher salary model will change in many schools
As Academic Leaders, we know that hiring is getting harder and harder each year – many of you tell me that hiring is now a year-long, neverending project. Almost everyone reports smaller candidate pools with less strong applicants, particularly in subject areas where teachers have more choices outside of the profession (computer science, sciences, languages, etc.). If teaching salaries go up, the independent school business model will be challenged even more. Already (according to NAIS and NBOA), salaries and benefits account for 64% of expenses at the average independent school. This may move schools away from a traditional pay-step model to something new, especially for the hardest-to-fill teaching positions.
Many schools are going to have to make difficult choices
Resources are not unlimited. If teaching salaries rise, choices will have to be made that impact the school outside and inside the classroom. Student to teacher ratios may need to increase; schools may not be able to offer as deep a curriculum on campus; programs may need to be cut.
I’m not, by nature, a pessimistic person. But, I do worry about the challenges ahead for Academic Leaders. And, I know that by working together in our incredible community, we’ll find creative, thoughtful solutions that center our values and center the learning experience of our students.
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Brad Rathgeber (he/him/his)