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Private School News

 

The U.S. Census Bureau released its annual report on income, poverty, and health insurance in the beginning of the month. It's a harsh report to engage.

About 2.6 million more Americans have fallen into the poverty bracket, and 46.3 million are now without health insurance. Experts are saying next year's numbers will be worse.

In 2008, 39.8 million Americans were living in poverty ($22,025 a year for a family of four). Lawrence Katz, a Harvard University economist, commented, "This is the highest percentage since the 1960s, earning the 2000s the reputation of a 'lost decade' for many families."

More bad news comes from Fitch Ratings. A report released by them predicts another wave of foreclosures may hit the economy soon.

These hard times are impacting teachers—and inevitably students.

An article published on philly.com highlights the declining salary increases for New Jersey teachers. For the current school year, New Jersey teachers averaged a 4.46% increase, which will drop to 4.26% for the 2011-12 school year. According to New Jersey School Board Association spokesman Frank Belluscio, in the 1990s, the average teacher-wage settlements exceeded 9%—what a difference a decade can make!

Nationally, New Jersey teachers are well above the average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics released data stating elementary and secondary school salaries averaged a 2.8% increase from June 2008 to June 2009. When you compare that to the national 1.5% average of private-industry school workers, it looks like NJ is the place to live if you're a teacher.

Benefits are another concern. Schools nationwide negotiated higher insurance deductibles and co-pays to help cut costs. Higher premiums and low salary increases are making it harder for the average teacher to survive. Comments found on several teacher blogs summarize the current situation with a common vent: "I can't keep up with the standard of living."

Keeping quality teachers is a difficult task without adequate compensation. Mona Bennett, President of the Deptford Education Association, stated, "We've got people leaving teaching in droves because they can't make enough money to sustain their families. Discouraged by their salaries, many young teachers are heading back to graduate school intending to become administrators."

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