In Part 1 of this series on how the Skoda/Corcoran proposal damages the competitiveness of Hinsdale District 86, we looked at a top teaching candidate that had seven years experience and a masters degree. In Part 2, we looked at a teaching candidate with no experience and the significant negative effects upon the District’s competitiveness. But what about a new teacher with no experience for whom their first teaching position is in District 86?
How might a first-year teacher and the Tradition of Excellence be impacted by Skoda/Corcoran’s extreme proposal?
To reiterate, this example features a candidate with no professional experience in the classroom. How might a bottom-line driven hiring practice combined with the current board proposal negatively affect Hinsdale’s Tradition of Excellence?
First, teaching is a very demanding profession, especially in District 86 where excellence is expected. The first year of teaching is one of the most difficult periods of a teacher’s career. A teacher with no experience in the classroom, even with the support of her colleagues, would still struggle. It’s a normal part of becoming a teacher. Certainly they will have good days. But they will also have many more lessons that go poorly and classroom management issues than experienced teachers. Without experience, the chances are greater that such a candidate might not be rated highly or even retained.
But let’s say the support she receives from her colleagues helps and she is retained. Being a new teaching candidate, she may decide the stress of teaching might be more than she is willing to endure, and leave the profession just as nearly 50% of all new teachers do within the first five years of entering the classroom.
But should such a candidate make it through her first few years, she would still be in the early part of her career, earning entry-level salaries. In Hinsdale 86, her salary barely keeps pace with inflation, advancing much slower than her peers in surrounding districts. Teachers communicate with other teachers through their alumni networks, professional development trainings, County-wide institutes, and sporting events. As demonstrated in Part 2, she’ll learn that peers of hers earn $8,000 more per year than she does in just four years, and $13,000 more per year than she does if they earned an advanced degree.
As much as she may like her classroom and students at Hinsdale, she’ll want to buy a home and start a family in the area. She’ll quickly see that she could do that much more easily working for another school district. Because she’ll still be in the early stages of her career, she’ll be able to make such a move. And because she is now a teacher with experience in Hinsdale, she’ll be considered a top teaching candidate at any district she interviews with.
There is always a chance she will stay. But given the dynamics of a new teacher’s career and the financial aspects of an aspiring young adult, the odds are significantly increased that there will be greater turn over of district teaching staff. Research is clear upon the effects of turnover: the lack of stability diminishes student achievement and costs the district additional resources to hire, train and evaluate their replacements.
Hinsdale 86 has always been a district where educators come to stay. This has led to a stable environment in which the faculty, students and community build strong relationships and work together to achieve consistently outstanding results. Under the leadership of Skoda, Corcoran, Manley and Casini, this may no longer be the case, as Hinsdale District 86 runs the risk of turning into a revolving door where young educators gain experience and then go elsewhere to apply their experience.
The teachers’ total proposal – salary and benefits combined – adds less than 1% to the salary and benefits budget and would attract and retain top teaching candidates.