Despite the wave of teacher protests that swept the country during the 2017-2018 school year, educators are still underappreciated and underpaid.
A new survey from the Maryland State Education Association has found that 41 percent of teachers in the state have second jobs.
The survey, which collected responses from 800 public school employees in Maryland, was administered by GBA Strategies. The survey also asked about funding, staffing, school supply purchases and teachers’ student loan debt.
Maryland teachers are underpaid and undervalued
“Far too many educators are struggling to make ends meet. It’s clear that Maryland needs to do more for our teachers and school staff,” Cheryl Bost, a former teacher and the current president of the Maryland State Education Association, said in a statement, according to the Baltimore Sun. “Educators devote their lives to making a difference for every single child in their community, yet as a state we have allowed educators to become undervalued.”
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Here are a few of most notable results from the survey:
- Thirty-seven percent of Maryland’s educators have student loan debt. Twenty-one percent owe more than $25,000.
- It’s not easy for teachers to pay off their loans on an educator’s salary. Forty percent of educators in the state over the age of 50 carry student loan debt.
- In the last year, 91 percent of educators have spent their own money on school supplies.
- Seventy-one percent said that inadequate staffing makes their school days difficult.
- Forty-one percent of the teachers surveyed have second jobs.
- Sixty-two percent of educators say that their salary makes it hard for their family to make ends meet.
Teachers are also worried about their students. Sixty-nine percent of the educators surveyed said that their school does not have the funding needed to help every student to be successful.
When teachers are undervalued, so are students — and so is education in general.
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This is a national problem
Educators are among the lowest paid professionals. When you compare their salaries with those with similar levels of education and experience, the differences are clear. The average earnings of workers with at least a four-year college degree are more than 50 percent higher than teachers’ average earnings.
Other research has confirmed that, despite their low pay, the vast majority of educators dip into their own pockets to buy supplies for their classroom and students. Ninety-four percent of U.S. teachers spend their own money on school supplies, according to federal Department of Education survey released in May.
These issues aren’t just affecting teachers in Maryland. Last school year’s teacher protests addressed issues like these in states across the country. Some states made some progress. However, sweeping changes to funding for education are the only way to reverse course.
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