Competitive Salaries versus Supply and Demand for Teachers

The teachers union in Huntley is saying that salaries are not competitive.

The Huntley Education Association points to salaries in Unit District 300, east of Huntley and based in Carpentersville, while ignoring those in Unit District 200, immediately north in Woodstock.

Convenient selection of comparables, I’d say.

Every year the State Board of Education reports on supply and demand for teachers.

So, what’s it say?

Is there a shortage of teachers?

For lots of categories, the answer is “Yes.” Go down to page 20 of the paper version of the report (page 29 of the electronic version).

I have reproduced the top of the table, where the most needed teachers are listed, and the bottom, where there are surpluses:

If the lines are too small to read, click on the images and they will enlarge.

Those areas with surpluses are

Physical education
English – language arts
Social Science, and
Standard Elementary Instructor

Half of Huntley’s school teachers are elementary school teachers.

Clearly there is no shortage in that market place.

Only 2% of school districts report any shortage of regular grade school teachers.

48% have a surplus, which this report calls an “overage.” (Don’t you love “education speak?”)

And the situation is going to get worse from the teachers’ point of view at least until 2011 as enrollments plunge.

From this, anyone who has taken Economics 101 can figure out that the salaries of elementary teachers do not have to be raised. There are many more than enough ready to take those jobs.

On the other hand, all sorts of special education teachers are in short supply.

As are bilingual, Spanish and math, science (near the top of the chart, but not reproduced here).

While the job situation for high school teachers is not as bad as for those who teach elementary school, the downward student trend line is merely delayed a few years.

So what might that mean to Huntley School District Board 158?

I’d suggest it means that grade school teachers should be in a poor negotiating position.

But, since they probably dominate their teachers’ union, they can demand salaries as high as high school teachers, many categories of which are in short supply.

So what is propping up salaries and prices?

It is unions, such as the Huntley Education Association, which is demanding more than 30% raises for all teachers over 3 years and trying to pressure the board of education to cave in.

In other words, a legal monopoly that Springfield has given striking rights to, is artificially propping up prices.

That monopoly in the suburbs is called the Illinois Education Association.

Competitive pricing doesn’t exist when one monopoly union determines the prices of a product for virtually all of the suburban Chicago school districts using a “ratchet up the price scheme.”

The IEA and Huntley teachers can’t be accused of collusion.

When there is a virtual monopoly, there is no one else to collude with.

The best job of education the IEA teachers’ union is doing in Huntley and McHenry County is teaching taxpayers how a monopoly in the suburbs can enforce its will with the threat to strike.

And monopoly pricing is what the State Board of Education report shows.

In the real world, that is, the private sector, those in professions in oversupply would have lower salaries than those where shortages exist.

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