A recent survey reveals that a growing number of California teachers are abandoning the profession due to the high cost of living, rising rents, and excessive workload. In addition to the new school year commencing throughout the United States, teacher shortages have been a problem due to state-imposed testing and performance goals, school privatization, and defunding.
Almost 70% of teachers have pondered quitting the profession, according to a recent poll from United Instructors Los Angeles, which polled over 13,000 educators in the city. Additionally, 28% of teachers reported holding down a second job to make ends meet. It has been stated that about 60% of teachers with 20+ years of experience cannot afford to live in the places where they educate.
The Los Angeles metropolitan region had the highest median rent in the United States in the first half of 2022. This figure was $4,664 a month for a single-family house. Prices for basics in LA rose by about 20% between 2018 and 2021. There is still a shortage of around 15,800 employees in public education in Los Angeles as of February 2020, according to the data, since the number of teachers resigning in 2020–21 climbed by 38% from the previous year and retirements increased by 12%. The Economic Policy Institute issued a report this month showing that the teacher pay penalty—the income disparity between teachers and other professions with comparable academic experience—reached a new high in 2021, at 23.5 percent.
United Teachers of Los Angeles president Cecily Myart-Cruz stated, “We’re at a critical crisis right now where you have educators suffering the weight of not being acknowledged as professionals.” “The pay is too little to support a family on.” Public school financing is primarily dependent on local and state budgets, generating financial inequalities among towns and states and is especially insufficient for school districts with high and medium poverty levels. The United States invests just 11.6% of its public finance in education, which is below the Unesco recommended 15%. According to research conducted by the Century Foundation in 2020, underfunding of K-12 public schools in the United States totals $150 billion each year, with districts serving disproportionately large numbers of Black and Hispanic children suffering an average funding gap of $5,000 per student.
By June 2022, the public school workforce in the United States will be roughly 300,000. 55% of teachers, according to a poll by the National Education Association, are thinking about quitting the profession before they had originally meant to. As censorship laws aimed specifically at educators have been enacted or considered in states around the nation, educators have also come under increased scrutiny. For 15 years, Nicole Fefferman taught high school social studies and history in the Los Angeles Unified School District. However, she has chosen to retire from teaching after the 2021–2022 school year owing to the poor working conditions and inadequate resources available to educators. She has also raised two kids in the same school district. She found it discouraging because school authorities kept promising her and other teachers and students support when they returned to class and persevered through the epidemic, but never delivered on their promises. She noted that teachers still had to deal with issues like overcrowded classrooms, a dearth of aides, and crumbling buildings.