High-Priced Housing Hits Teachers Hard

NPR reports on the challenge faced by teachers in high-priced housing markets: They simply can’t afford to live or be a part of the communities where they teach.

The story notes:

Kelly Henderson loves her job, teaching at Newton South High School in a suburb west of Boston. But she’s frustrated she can’t afford to live in the community where she teaches: It’s part of the 10th most expensive housing market in the nation.

While better pay is one part of the solution, it’s not enough:

“It’s important for teachers to live and make roots in the communities where they teach,” Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, tells NPR Ed. “Yet renting or buying a home in expensive cities is financially out of reach for most educators. Salary increases alone won’t do the trick.”

The problem for districts and their students is that lack of available housing makes teaching in these markets less desirable. When veteran teachers retire, it’s difficult for new teachers to step in because they can’t afford the housing market. Or, those new teachers face long commutes and ultimately seek employment in more affordable areas.

This story is just another example of how the value proposition for teachers just isn’t a strong one.

I’ve long advocated for better pay as one key element of the solution to attracting and retaining teaching talent. And I’ve noted in the past that low pay and high-stress working conditions are not only bad for teachers, but they also create a bad climate for students.

The solution in the long-term is not a simple one, but raising pay and taking other steps to increase the value proposition for the teaching profession are critical to creating a positive learning environment for students.

For more on education politics and policy, follow @TheAndySpears

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