Since the start of the pandemic, the number of educators has declined by nearly 570,000—and 55 percent of those remaining are considering leaving the profession. Nearly 1 in 5 U.S. teachers must take a second or third job to make ends meet. On average, teachers earn nearly 20 percent less per year than similarly educated workers.
The Economic Policy Institute attributes rising educator shortages to the decline in teachers’ pay relative to other college graduates and increasingly stressful working conditions. The shortages are most severe in certain subjects, geographic areas, and schools with high proportions of students of color or students from low-income households.
Both the Pay Teachers Act (S. 766) introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and the American Teacher Act (H.R. 882) introduced by Rep. Frederica Wilson would raise starting teachers’ salaries to at least $60,000 a year.