Reporter's Notebook

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New York--Dissatisfaction with their salary is forcing many independent-school teachers to consider leaving the profession, a study released here indicates.

In a survey of principals, faculty members, and trustees at eight representative schools, the National Association of Independent Schools found compensation to be an increasingly important factor in recruiting new teachers and retaining experienced ones.

The median salary for teachers in the association's member schools is $21,500 a year. Full-time salaries at the eight schools surveyed averaged from $18,470 to $28,300. And average salaries for beginning teachers ranged from $12,000 to $19,000.

The survey, released at the association's annual meeting here Feb. 25-27, found that:

Nearly one-third of the experienced teachers said they had jobs outside of school to earn extra income during the school year.

About 40 percent of experienced teachers were considering taking a job at another school or a job other than teaching, and 30 percent said it was unlikely that they would still be teaching at an independent school in 10 years.

Half of all experienced teachers would consider taking a job in a public school, and two-thirds would consider a job other than teaching.

Nine out of 10 teachers surveyed said they would continue teaching if their salaries were increased. Nearly 80 percent said more recognition would make them more likely to continue teaching.

A third of the beginning teachers surveyed said they were also considering fields other than teaching, and two-thirds said they planned to spend fewer than five years teaching in independent schools.

The survey found that 83 percent of the headmasters and trustees would increase faculty salaries if their schools had more money.

Almost a quarter of the school leaders said their schools had turnover problems. Salaries ranked only fifth out of eight factors they said attracted teachers to their schools.

The eight schools participating in the study were the Dwight-Englewood School, Englewood, N.J.; Kent Denver School, Denver; Manzano Day School, Albuquerque, N.M.; Metairie Park Country Day School, Metairie, La.; Miss Porter's School, Farmington, Conn.; St. Matthew's Parish School, Pacific Palisades, Calif.; the Tilton School, Tilton, N.H.; and Wilmington Friends School, Wilmington, Del.

Copies of the report, Profession At Risk, by Richard P. Goldman, are available for $15 for nais members and $20 for nonmembers, plus $1.25 for postage and handling, from the nais Order Department, 18 Tremont St., Boston, Mass. 02108.

Gov. Thomas H. Kean of New Jersey, the conference's keynote speaker, told n.a.i.s. delegates that most of the public-school reforms he has supported were inspired by his private-school education.

One of a group of so-called "education governors," Mr. Kean attended The Potomac School in McLean, Va., and St. Albans School in Washington, and graduated from St. Mark's Schoolinued on Following Page Continued from Preceding Page

in Southborough, Mass.

He noted that some public-school reform efforts may pose a challenge to independent schools. "I'm afraid that those of us working to improve public education are not making your jobs easier," he said.

"Like the music of Beethoven or John Coltrane," Mr. Kean said, independent schools "present an alternative to Top 40 education."

"We need you to serve as the alternative to public education, the moving target that public schools aim for but can never quite hit."

A survey of 240 boarding schools released at the meeting gave en4couraging signs that such schools are holding their own in the enrollment race during a period of declining numbers of school-age students.

It found little change in enrollments, numbers of applicants, and school visits and inquiries from 1986 to 1987.

Conducted by the n.a.i.s. and the Secondary School Admissions Test Board, the survey found that overall boarding-school enrollment dropped 1.4 percent over the year, mainly in coeducational boarding schools.

The number of minority students applying to boarding schools rose, from 10.2 percent in 1986, to 11.3 percent in 1987. But enrollment of minorities showed little change, from 5.9 percent in 1986, to 6 percent last year.--kg

Vol. 07, Issue 24

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