Facing severe teacher shortages in the usual subject areas (ELL, math, science and foreign languages), school district officials in the Dallas/Fort Worth area are laying out some enticing bait in the hopes of reeling in new prospects. Prospective teachers in Texas can earn stipends and signing bonuses ranging from $2,500 in Dallas proper to $7,500 in the nearby Cedar Hill school district. The Irving school district is offering a $50,000 yearly salary for first-year bilingual teachers, well above the usual starting pay of about $34,000.
The Texas teachers union affiliate cites the usual reasons for the shortages: too many teachers are quitting and there aren't enough teacher graduates in the state to take their place. So districts are getting creative in their pursuit of teachers from other states. After schools in southern California laid off teachers, the Fort Worth school district purchased billboards in San Diego to entice the unemployed instructors to its schools.
For some new teachers, being in such high demand is not an entirely welcome feeling. At job fairs, potential employers swarm around qualified applicants. First grade bilingual teacher Karla Zarate reported, "People are literally pulling on you and yelling your name. They're kind of like hawks."