The decline in computer science graduates might be creating an opportunity for code-literate school technology personnel—at least for those who can be enticed by bonuses, stock options, and $70,000 starting salaries.

While the number of toddlers who can turn on the household computer continues to soar, the number of computer-science graduates has suffered a surprising drop, from about 48,000 graduates in 1984 to an estimated 26,000 this year.

According to a recent Business Week report, techies in a market desperate for programmers are pulling in the salaries and driving the cars usually reserved for CEOs.

This set us to thinking: What about all those hard-working technicians in our public schools? We approached several technology directors in schools with a tempting lure of power and money to “go corporate,” just to see if they’d bite.

“Not me,” laughed Nancy Messmer, director of library media and technology at the Bellingham, Wash., public schools. “I can’t imagine wanting to work anyplace else.

“I’m really excited about using technology for improving student learning and teaching—this is the perfect place for me.”

Richard Kevern, technology director of the Beachwood, Ohio, public schools, gives a “been there, done that” sigh. “I spent 20 years doing other things before getting my master’s in teaching and instructional technology,” Kevern said. “I’d never go back.”

“I’m not in education to make a hundred thousand dollars,” says Jay Moody of Ohio’s Stark County Education Service Center. “I don’t think anybody is. There’s no way I would leave.”

What keeps them in education, with its endless paperwork, thankless salaries, and daily frustrations and confusions?

“Satisfaction,” says Kevern. “I feel the satisfaction of doing meaningful work.”

Bellingham Public School District

http://www.bham.wednet.edu

Beachwood Public Schools

http://www.beachwood.k12.oh.us/

Stark County Education Service Center

http://www.stark.k12.oh.us/