A teacher shortage has swept the country, according to data from the Economic Policy Institute. Especially in rural and low-income areas, school districts lack teachers with the proper qualifications to serve children.
This shortage has resulted in strikes and protests by teachers across the country. In 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 for reasons related to COVID-19, historically low salaries, burnout and deteriorating working conditions, according to Vox.
Teachers are receiving raises across the United States: Many state and local governments have approved budgets to increase teacher salaries in an attempt to retain more teachers. In several states, it’s the biggest pay rise in decades, according to the New York Times.
- New Mexico increased teacher salaries by an average of 20%.
- The governor of Florida has approved $800 million for teacher salaries. The average salary in the state will increase from $40,000 to $47,000.
- The governor of Mississippi approved an increase of about $5,100 a year.
- Alabama has approved an $8.3 billion budget for education. Teachers will see a salary increase of up to 21%, depending on experience.
- Gilbert, Arizona, will increase teachers’ salaries 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 it would transition to the four-day school week model.
“Teacher burnout has been a problem for a long time, but since COVID it seems to be spreading and becoming more and more of an issue,” district superintendent John Seybold said, according to ABC. “The four-day week makes them a bit more manageable because there’s so much pressure on our teachers.”