Teacher Shortage Requires Money, Maybe [OPINION]
The economic law of supply and demand applies to labor as well as consumer goods. Money isn't everything but it is important and it is a way to attract labor.
The teachers union and many of the elected officials in the town of Dartmouth are looking at raising property taxes to increase the amount of money their local teachers earn. Nobody wants to pay taxes and certainly, nobody wants to pay even more in taxes than they believe they need to pay.
There is a lack of available qualified public school teachers across America. Some Massachusetts school districts are having to deal with a labor shortage.
Money isn't the only factor in attracting an employee to fill a vacancy, but it is often the only factor an employer can control. Think about coal mining, regardless of how much a person is paid they have to go into a coal mine to do their job and there isn't anything the coal company can do about the fact that they are offering a job that requires the employee to go into the coal mine. So the coal company offers more money to keep and attract miners that could leave and go to another job.
I have been observing the education system in the city of New Bedford for a number of years. Earlier this year, there was an interesting conversation at the city school committee meeting about teacher retainment and the recruitment of new educators to fill vacancies. New Bedford Superintendent Thomas Anderson and a member of his staff explained the realities of the current teacher shortage and outlined their strategy to recruit teachers.
There is a difference between the environment for teachers working in the suburbs and those working in the cities. New Bedford and Dartmouth are next-door neighbors, but there are still tremendous differences between the two communities.
At the moment it doesn't appear that Dartmouth is feeling the crunch of a labor shortage for teachers. According to its website, the Dartmouth School department is only looking to fill three unique professional positions at this time.
It makes sense to prepare for the future and increasing the ability to attract qualified teachers to a system is the responsibility of the elected and appointed individuals who manage the schools. Discussing the wages and benefits available for the town to run a quality school is an important discussion and it is best if it is done in advance of a crisis.
Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.