I heard through the grapevine that a school district near mine has opted to solely hire new teachers. In an effort to reduce salary costs, the district will be searching for teachers new to the profession that hold only a bachelor’s degree. Why the search for the green teachers? Experienced, educated teachers cost too much.
Are we sending the wrong message to our students and communities? Don’t we want our students to pursue higher education?
I earned my master’s degree several years ago for a couple of reasons. First, I wanted to be more marketable. While I love what I do, I think I can impact more children’s educations and lives outside the classroom doing curriculum development or serving as a voice for educators like you. I also wanted an increase in salary. The way the pay scale works in my district, I was quickly approaching the ceiling where I wouldn’t see another increase without that advanced degree. My district was also limiting pay increases so a master’s was the only way to get a cost of living increase. And I am a career student, forever wanting to learn something new. Life would be dull if I didn’t learn something new every single day!
Most importantly, though, I wanted to make sure that I had the best practices and research under my belt so I could teach to the best of my ability. After all, that’s why we are all in education, right? Apparently not so.
How can we expect our students to try their best when the best we give them doesn’t include veteran teachers? Sure, districts will always have to hire new teachers. Believe me, I was happy to get my first teaching job. But without plenty of veteran teachers around to guide me I would have been lost. They helped me more than my first principal ever could have. Don’t get me wrong—she was a great principal. But my colleagues were able to help me as peers; something that’s difficult for a principal to do.
Our current budget crisis is the driving force behind this and many other cost-cutting measures. I’m not sure what the answer is to our financial dilemma, but I’m pretty sure this shouldn’t be part of it. Surely there are other options!