A teaching shortage has been sweeping the country, according to data from the Economic Policy Institute. Especially in low-income and rural areas, school districts are lacking teachers with proper credentials to serve children.
This shortage has been reflected by teacher strikes and protests throughout the country. Within recent years, teacher strikes have taken place in cities in California, Minnesota and Illinois, according to The Guardian.
Many teachers have protested, gone on strike and even quit their jobs due to COVID-19-related reasons, historically low pay, burnout and worsening working conditions, according to Vox.
Teachers receive raises across the U.S.: Many state and local governments have been approving budgets to increase teacher pay in order to attempt higher teacher retainment. In several states, this is the largest pay increase in decades, according to The New York Times.
- New Mexico increased teacher salaries by an average of 20%.
- Florida’s governor approved $800 million for teacher salaries. The average salary in the state will go from $40,000 to $47,000.
- Mississippi’s governor approved an increase of about $5,100 per year.
- Alabama approved an $8.3 billion education budget. Teachers will see an increase in pay of up to 21%, depending on experience.
- Gilbert, Arizona, will increase teacher pay by 3%.
Four-day school week: To further combat teacher burnout, some school districts are moving to a four-day school week. The Jasper Independent School District in Texas announced in March that they will be moving to the four-day school week model.
“Teacher burnout has been an issue for a long time, but since COVID it has seemed to expand, and it's becoming more and more of an issue,” said John Seybold, the district’s superintendent, according to ABC. “The four-day week kind of makes it a little more manageable for them because there’s so much pressure placed on our teachers.”