Thanks to Jeewon Oh, Shanghai American School AP Econ student, for posting the link to this excellent article about supply and demand for teachers in Mississippi. Jeewon posted this article and her below summary of it to our class's “AP Econ in the News” page on the wiki. CLICK HERE to see the other articles and summaries posted by students relating to our current unit on Supply and Demand. Here's Jeewon's article:
Teachers: Shortages require pay hikes -The Clarion-Ledger- Real Mississippi
And here's Jeewon's summary from the wiki:
In Mississippi, there are not enough teachers in the classrooms. This teacher shortage is becoming a greater problem, as 50 percent of the teachers nationwide are estimated to leave the profession within five years. In August there were 1,270Â requests for one-year education licenses, which would result in temporary and unqualified teachers in schools. Despite the fact that 1,400 education majors graduate from Mississippi colleges, only 900 become teachers. The State Superintendent of Education Hank Bounds realized that if wages increased, there would be more teachers willing to work. Bounds currently wants a 3 percent pay raise andaddition of 5 years to the pay schedule for teachers. This is asupply-and-demand issue, as the Legislative Budget Committee is planning to supply, or offer, higher wages, predicting that more teachers will be demanding and willing to take the job, due to the change in their income.
The reason this article jumped out at me is because it relates to so many of the topics we've studied in unit 2 of Microeconomics, particularly our last class where we learned about how free, competitive markets lead to an allocatively efficient outcome. In public schools in America, wages paid to teachers are essentially set by the state and local governments; in essence there is a price ceiling in the market for teachers. According to the article:
Mississippi has been on a plan to get pay competitive, but it still lags. Base pay for a starting teacher is about $30,000. The average salary is $40,594, short of the Southeastern average of $42,333. The national average is $47,674.
Given the severe shortage of teachers in Mississippi and the nation as a whole, what does this say about the average salaries being paid to teachers? What can we conclude about the allocation of resources towards education? Is the market for public education in the United States allocatively efficient? How does Jeewon's article present a solid argument for the privatization of education in the US? How might taking some of the responsibility of providing education out of government hands result in a more efficient allocation of resources towards schools?
Great article, Jeewon, thanks for the link and the nice summary. From now on, when I see an excellent article like Jeewon's accompanied by a fine summary such as the one above, I will plan to post it to this blog so others can benefit from the research and reading that our AP students are sharing through our class wiki. The AP Econ in the News page is a great place economics teachers and students to come find useful articles for their classes, as well, so I encourage you to bookmark it. A new page is added for each unit, and it can be found under each unit's main page.
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