Will Computers Replace Teachers?

Published November 1, 1999

Stateline.org staff writer Tiffany Danitz reported in October that not everyone is delighted with the emergence of virtual high schools. Mark Shoup, of the National Education Association-affiliated Indiana State Teachers Association, said that there is a small but growing fear among educators that computers may one day replace them.

That’s not going to happen in the 11,000-student Township High School District 214 in suburban Cook County, about 20 miles northwest of Chicago’s Loop. Back in October 1996, the District 214 Education Association prevailed on the school board to approve an amendment to the teacher contract stating that the board “will not reduce the number of (teaching) positions as a result of changes emanating from curricular, instructional, or technological innovations.”

Thus, if computer technology made it possible to increase productivity in a particular subject area and reduce the number of District 214 teachers required to teach that subject, the district would have to increase the number of teachers by a corresponding amount in another subject area. At that time in District 214, the average 9-month teacher salary was $69,600 and the average annual administrator salary was $95,900.