Fairfax schools hiring rate is lower than many Ivy League schools’ admissions rates

September 19, 2013

The hiring rate for a teaching position in Fairfax County schools this year was lower than the admissions rates at several Ivy League schools including Yale, Columbia and Princeton.

The school system hired 1,841 teachers this fall after sifting through 26,823 job applications. The hiring rate, 6.8 percent, shows how competitive the job market is for a classroom role in Fairfax County, widely regarded as one of the best school system’s in the country.

During a Post-sponsored panel discussion Wednesday at Fairfax High School, George Becerra, chair of Fairfax’s minority student achievement oversight committee, equated a job offer from Fairfax to be as prestigious as an acceptance letter from Harvard University. (According to U.S. News and World Report, Harvard had the lowest acceptance rate in the nation for the fall of 2012, admitting only 6.1 percent of applicants. A lower rate than Fairfax.)

Many companies and industries have similarly competitive hiring rates. But its interesting to point out how low the hiring rate is in Fairfax considering employee morale has been recorded as dismal due to a demanding workload and teacher compensation that ranks among the lowest in the region,according to the Washington Area Boards of Education guide. An average teacher in Fairfax earns about $64,000. In Maryland’s Montgomery County the average teacher salary is $10,000 more.

Still, Fairfax saw total applications climb this year by almost 2,000 from last year’s 24,964. Overall, the school system hired fewer teachers this fall than the year before.

In recent years, the school system’s record for applications came in 2009 when the administration reviewed 29,328 submissions. That year, the school system hired only 943 teachers for a hiring rate of 3.2 percent. It’s worth noting that in 2009, the U.S. economy was deeply troubled, and the job market was terrible: the unemployment rate peaked at 10 percent, the worst of the recession. For the past seven years, the teacher hiring rate average is 6.45 percent.

Below are the hiring statistics from the past seven years:

2007-08: 16,596 applications; 1,476 teachers hired.

2008-09: 18,463 applications; 1,418 teachers hired.

2009-10: 29,328 applications; 943 teachers hired.

2010-11: 26,273 applications; 1,227 teachers hired.

2011-12: 27,341 applications; 1,751 teachers hired.

2012-13: 24,964 applications; 1,933 teachers hired.

2013-14: 26,823 applications; 1,841 teachers hired.

T. Rees Shapiro is an education reporter.
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