In February 2022, the National Institute on Retirement Security looked into “Americans’ Views of Public School Teachers and Personnel in the Wake of Covid-19” and found that, among respondents:

  • 83% worry about staff shortages;
  • 81% are concerned about staff burnout;
  • 81% are concerned that fewer are entering the teaching profession;
  • 95% say public school teachers and personnel are important to their communities;
  • 89% say they deserve more respect; and
  • 88% believe their pay should be raised.

As for how to ease the shortages, among those same respondents…

  • 92% said better pay would help;
  • 89% said more generous healthcare benefits would help;
  • 86% said more generous pensions would help;
  • 88% think more generous funding and resources are a key factor; and
  • 75% believe loan forgiveness would be important.

All that being said..

When it comes to this 2022-23 school year, the National Education Association estimates that the average teacher salary is $68,469—2.6% more than that of last year, BUT…

Inflation has taken a big bite out of that 2.6% increase, so much so that teachers, on average, are actually making a whopping $3,644 less than they did 10 years ago.

On top of that sobering fact, there is a wide range in teachers’ paychecks, and it’s all about location, location, location. You see, those in Mississippi make, on average, just $48,530 a year vs. $92,307 for those in Massachusetts—a whopping $43,777 difference.

So, then, how do we attract more college students to opt for education careers? Why, money, of course, say lawmakers, and so many states have put financial initiatives into play. The most generous, Maryland’s $20,000 stipend, but, in return, recipients must commit to teach in the state for two years wherever they’re needed the most be it a school, grade level, or content area.

So, a smart teacher shortage solution or a mere Band-Aid atop the problems that run deep in education these days?

~ With thanks, Carol