Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Teachers Benefit Today's Youth and Tomorrow's Economy

A highly educated workforce is important to the state's economic future: People with more education earn higher wages and experience less unemployment; they are able to innovate and use their skills in new ways, which helps the economy grow and quickly adapt to changes in the world marketplace.

In total, there are about 40,000 teachers in the state's K-12 classrooms. One out of three general teachers are teaching at the secondary level, while more than two-fifths work in elementary schools, another one-fifth teach at the middle school level, and the remaining 5 percent teach the state's kindergarteners.

Oregon's elementary school teachers had a 2010 median wage of $50,700, and middle school teachers earned a median of $50,300. Kindergarten teachers had lower wages - their median was $45,300 in 2010.

Secondary school teaching is projected to grow about 6 percent between 2008 and 2018 - short of the 9 percent growth anticipated across all occupations in Oregon. In addition to some openings due to growth, a large number of openings are anticipated to replace teachers retiring from Oregon classrooms.

There are some reasons anticipated demand for Oregon teachers (based on 2008 to 2018 employment projections) doesn't jive with the current hiring environment teachers face today. Despite anticipated demand for Oregon teachers, the hiring picture for new graduates has been bleak recently. For new teachers, finding a job has proven difficult as recession-related budget cuts have reduced funded staffing levels.

For more information on Oregon's teachers, check out the full article, written by Economist Jessica Nelson ( 503-947-1276).

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