Administrators at Evanston’s two school districts expressed surprise Tuesday at a New York Times article Monday that proclaimed an impending teacher shortage across America.

During the recession, the article stated, a number of teachers were laid off, and as the economy recovered, college students were avoiding the education field when choosing their majors.

While the problem was particularly acute in California, according to the article, where the number of people entering teacher preparation programs dropped by more than 55 percent from 2008 to 2012, nationally the drop was 30 percent from 2010 to 2014.

But John Price, assistant superintendent of schools for Evanston/Skokie District 65, and his counterpart at Evanston Township High School District 202, Peter Bavis, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, told Evanston Now that neither district has experienced difficulty in attracting teachers.

“We haven’t noticed any change in our ability to hire the teachers we need,” said Price.

His sentiments were echoed by Bavis, who noted that with the exception of hiring teachers in the specialized sciences, such as physics, “which has always been a challenge,” any opening at ETHS is met with an abundance of applicants.

The Times article cited Louisville, Nashville, Oklahoma City, Providence, and Charlotte as cities having difficulty filling teacher vacancies in their schools.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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  1. Then pay too high ?
    If the supply in a profession is off from the required level + a margin then the pay is probably too high or low.
    If you need X teachers and considering cost of training, searching/hiring process, etc. then it tells you sometime about wages/benefits.
    Lets say those extra cost are 10% of salary. If 110% of current qualified applications for the jobs are available, then pay/benefits are probably too high.
    Likewise, with different ‘margins’ if you can’t find enough teachers, wage/benefits are probably too low.

    1. Probably too high
      The starting salary in D65 is $47,161 (according to job postings) for 180 days of work. Assuming that most workers who are employed full-time work 240 days, the D65 starting salary for someone with a bachelor’s degree and no experience is the equivalent of almost $63,000 per year.

      I am not sure that even new STEM grads are being paid so well to start.

      1. You’re kidding, right?

        You cannot use equivalence, unless you've tried being a teacher yourself. I'm not a teacher, but I'm married to one and they easily work 12 hours a day during the regular school year. Have you ever took time after work to grade papers and write up new lesson plans every day? not to mention do some more lesson planning during the summer when you're not officially on the clock? 

        Plus have you been keeping up with the economy at all? Inflation has been soaring to new highs and yet most teacher pay has been stagnant for many years. 

      2. Teacher income is not the problem

        @Anonymous0,  Your logic is flawed on many levels on what it means to be compensated as an educator in Illinois and in Evanston.  You may think that educators work only 180 days a year, but there is much more that goes into teaching than the face time we have with students…  In our off time, there is a lot of work that is expected from us, even though we do not "get paid" during that time.  It's like saying actors are overpaid because they only work when they are on stage.  Also, teachers in 65 and 202 are not a part of the social security system, so from our salary, we have to pay into TRS from our salary.  In other words, there are many hidden costs that get taken out of our salary that someone in the private sector does not pay from his or her salary (and yes, I am excluding union dues in that statement).  Finally, Evanston public schools are the best of the best, and to keep the best, we pay teachers better than most districts so our children (I have two in the system) get the best education possible… that is why we pay as much as we do in property taxes.  Schools are also a service, not a business, and the question is, are we (as a community) getting our money's worth from our educational systems?  I think you don't have to look any further than the competitions our students win and where they go to college (or work) after they leave our school system.

        Our system is not perfect, but the pay and financial issues we have do not fall on our teachers and their income.  Our schools do not have an income problem, but rather a spending problem… If you want to trim the fat, look at the cost of administrative salaries, which are all six figure salaries, or programs that are administrative pet projects that lack oversight from the community.  You may sound penny-wise by attacking teacher salaries, but in reality it is a pound-foolish arguement.  The point is that America has a real issue of privatizing and monetizing a public right, education. And vilifying teachers, as if they are the problem, is not a solution.  Instead, pay attention to what school boards and administrators are choosing to do, vote in the school board election cycle, and demand accountability from school board members, administrators… and yes, teachers too, but teacher pay is not the issue. So please educate yourself with the real issues that face Evanston's education system instead of jumping on the ignorant bandwagon of Michelle Rhee, Arne Duncan, and the whole "School Reform" movement.  Go read some of Diane Ravitch's work and see what is really going on in education.

      3. 180 days of work

        All the educators I know work MUCH more than 180 days for just 8hours a day…with grading and planning and communicating with parents in addition to modifying curriculum. All that along with actually working directly with students on most of those 180 days you refer to, I think they are compensated on the cheap. A babysitter watching 27 kids 180 days a year would make more money.

        1. Comparison of teacher and non-teacher misplaced
          Posts make the argument that teachers work more than 8 hour days.
          The assumption seems that non-teachers get by with 8 hour days.
          Ask and lawyer, doctor, accountant, IT professional, university professor or many more how many hours they “work.”
          I think you will find that they “work” more like 70 hours a week, 50-52 weeks a year if they want to get ahead or keep their skills up so they don’t get laid-off by younger people in a few years. By “work” I include not just office time, but learning new skills/knowledge and improving on current skills/knowledge. In fact if they “work” much more than 40 hours at the office [except maybe for young lawyers/accountants in big firms] their employer will welcome that but not really reward them. The real “reward” comes from keeping up with new knowledge and obtaining new skills. Most don’t get the ‘tenure’ schools give so they can’t relax—its “up or out” with most professions [professionals].

          1. Comparison not misplaced

            "Ask any lawyer, doctor, accountant, IT professional, university professor" if they get paid more than teachers. Gee, can you guess what the answer is?

          2. actually there are a lot of

            actually there are a lot of teachers at ETHS making more than 100K per year and a lot of professors at NU making less than that….

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