Teacher shortage, protests complicate educator pay dynamics

1010 WINS Newsroom
August 23, 2019 - 1:08 am

First-grade teacher Hillary Madrigal is photographed in her classroom Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019, in Salt Lake City. Across the country, teachers and school districts alike are grappling with the latest political and economic realities of educator pay. Madrigal jumped to the nearby school district last year, lured by higher salaries that would allow her to quit her second job as a housekeeper and buy a new car. "I have a college degree. I felt I could make a difference in people's lives as a teacher but to pay my bills ... I had to do people's laundry," said Madrigal, who now works for the Salt Lake City School District. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Across the country, teachers and school districts alike are grappling with the latest political and economic realities of educator pay.

The dynamics have been complicated by both the recent national teacher protest movement that's emboldened the workforce to demand higher salaries and better conditions, and the steadily brewing shortage of educators that's forced many school districts to confront the money issue with more urgency.

The National Education Association's latest salary data estimates that the average public school teacher in the U.S. saw a 2% pay raise over the past two years since the national Red4Ed protest movement spread across the U.S.

At the same time, the number of teacher vacancies have exceeded 100,000 jobs in the past four years, said Elaine Weiss of the Economic Policy Institute.

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Sally Ho reported from Seattle. She covers philanthropy and education. Follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/_SallyHo