Before I get to how I need your help, come down the data rabbit hole I fell into today. I was reading a report about how San Jose has a sordid history that has created the division in where we live in San Jose, or as it is called, an Assessment of Fair Housing. Within it (see p. 19) I spotted this graphic:
There has been a fair amount of conversation about teacher salaries in my world, as I was in Washington D.C. with other advocates from around the United States asking our Representatives and Senators for changes. Our ask included more funding for teachers in the form of grants to pay for their education so they do not start in a low income field with high debt. The other was to address the fact that projections on the number of teachers our schools will need and what we will have are very grim. Here is a snapshot of what I mean from the Economic Policy Institute:
When I bring these together, the shortage and housing in San Jose, I strike the struggle in San Jose Unified School District (SJUSD) on housing for our teachers. Here I combine the first grid and add Average Teacher Income:
|Value in 1970 Dollars||Equivalent 2021 Value||2021 Actual Value|
|Median Home Value||$25,400||$178,700||$1,480,000|
|Teacher annual income||$9,300*||$64,000||$58,200 **|
*Average income for California, unable to find city specific detail for 1970.
**Average teacher income varies site to site, for example, Salary.com lists the average at $69,000 with a broad range.
Here is where I need your help. When you meet with your city or state officials, and ask them what they want in the future, use this to show them why people can’t afford to teach in California public schools, and will you tell them why it is important to you that we create pathways in our state for teachers to make a living where their concern is our students and not how to fit in other jobs so they can make rent, buy groceries, and afford transportation.
Then when you see a teacher, drop the “those that can do, those that can’t teach”, hopefully by now you know how untrue this is. Instead say, “Thank you for your service.” Then ask if you can help.