Blame for teacher shortages has fallen on a variety of causes related to pay and burnout.
It’s not clear how far pay raises will go toward relieving the shortages, though, and some teachers say it is too little, too late to fix problems that are years in the making.
Blame for teacher shortages has fallen on underfunding after the Great Recession, tight labor markets, lackluster enrollments in colleges and programs that train teachers and teacher burnout inflamed by the travails of the COVID-19 pandemic.
There has been no mass exodus, but data from some states that track teacher turnover has shown rising numbers of teachers leaving the profession over the past couple years.
Shortages are most extreme in certain areas, including the poorest or most rural districts, researchers say. Districts also report particular difficulties in hiring for in-demand subjects like special education, math and science.
Meanwhile, teacher salaries have fallen further and further behind those of their college-educated peers in other fields, as teachers report growing workloads, shrinking autonomy and increasingly hostile school environments.
Magan Daniel, who at 33 just left her central Alabama school district, was not persuaded to stay by pay raises as Alabama’s governor vows to make teacher salaries the highest in the Southeast. It would take big increases to match neighboring Georgia, where the average teacher salary is $62,200, according to the National Education Association.
Fixing teachers’ deteriorating work culture and growing workloads would be a more powerful incentive than a pay raise, she said.
To read more about the push to raise the pay of teachers, click here.
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