Welcome New PASS Parents/NV Daily on Teachers

PASS Parents and Friends:
First of all welcome to all the new PASS Parents we signed up at back-to-school days. Thanks for joining our e-mail list — we hope you find it informative.  As you will see, PASS works hard to make sure parents know about local public policy and how it affects the schools.
Saturday’s NV Daily includes a well-researched story (linked below) about how Shenandoah County is losing teachers to other school districts that pay better. It notes the fact that we did not provide teachers with “raises” – which is to say, we did not provide cost-of-living adjustments so that their salaries might keep pace with inflation – where other jurisdictions did.

A little context: Virginia is facing a teacher shortage. It was estimated earlier this year that, statewide, we had 4200 more teaching positions than we had licensed teachers to fill them, and VDOE estimates that this number will rise to 6300 next year, according to the article. In a shortage market, the market price of a good or service is expected to rise faster than inflation – this the market “price” for teachers is going up. If we pay below that price, one would expect the quality of our teachers to decline, and our recent brain-drain is evidence of that.

Some will point out that teachers leave for reasons other than compensation, and they are correct. Teachers leave for lots of reasons, including management conflicts, family obligations and career changes, among others. But the fact that SCPS is paying below-market compensation and the fact that 60% of our teachers have turned over in the last four years simply cannot be a coincidence. As the article points out, the number one reason departing teachers gave for leaving this year was better salary and benefits elsewhere.

What can we, as parents, do? As Brandy said last week, in the short term, all we can do is our very best to make our teachers (and administrators, coaches, and others) feel supported and appreciated. Community support doesn’t pay the mortgage, but it does go a long way. In the mid-term, we can elect county officials who support additional investment in education this November. And in the long-term, we can help make Shenandoah County a community that makes education a priority.

Dan Walsh

Here is a link to the article: http://www.nvdaily.com/news/local-news/2017/08/teacher-turnover-taxes-school-system/

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