Facts Undermine Sensational Reports About Teacher Pay In the Oil Patch
Earlier this week I flagged an Associated Press report from James MacPherson (a reporter who can’t ever seem to find anything positive to report about the state’s oil patch) “reporting” a supposed problem with teacher pay in the oil patch.
Today the Washington Post has an expanded version of the story, complete with an even more sensational headline:
Desperately needed teachers? That certainly makes it sound like we have a crisis, but as with the original report, if we read a little more deeply we find that there really is no shortage of teachers in the oil patch. Or, at least, not in Williston the epicenter of the oil patch and the focus of the story.
According to officials in Williston, they’re getting plenty of qualified candidates:
…Williston has been flooded with teaching applications despite the high cost of living, lack of housing and comparatively low salaries for the jobs, LaFontaine said.
“I count my blessings,” she said. “Not only have we gotten a lot of applications, we’ve gotten a lot of good applications. There are people who want to teach in Williston.”
School administrators have hired about 40 teachers already this summer. About half have ties to the city and some will be living with family or friends, LaFontaine said.
Is this really a story? Or is this a teachers’ union talking point being hyped in the media to create pressure and leverage for a new contract for teachers? If you read the story carefully, those doing the complaining are from the North Dakota teacher’s union. My guess is that this whole story was pitched by the union to Mr. MacPherson.
This is something North Dakotans need to be wary of. Even we supporters of limited government recognize that, with the sort of social and economic growth we’re seeing in North Dakota, some government needs to get larger. But we can’t allow the government special interests like the unions use the oil boom as an excuse to grow government irresponsibly.
I’ve never yet met a bureaucrat who didn’t think they should be paid more, or be in charge or a larger budget, and now bureaucrats in the oil boom area have the perfect excuse for their ambitions. Use oil impact as an excuse.
Again, there are prudent areas for spending out west, but we need to ensure that these areas are, in fact, prudent.Tags: james macpherson, North Dakota News, teacher pay