In the States: Teacher Strikes and Job Satisfaction
The new “In the States” feature by Kaitlyn Brennan is a weekly update to keep members informed on state-level activities impacting the education and educator preparation community.
Students attending the Seattle Public Schools system were slated to begin school last week, but on Tuesday, members of the Seattle Education Association voted to authorize a strike. Over 75% of union members participated in the vote with 95% of those who voted, voting in favor of a strike. Schools remained closed throughout the week as negotiations continue the school district. The Seattle Public School System serves more the 50,000 students with the union representing over 6,000 certified teachers, substitutes, paraprofessionals, and office professionals. One of the major striking points for union members are the need for more special education teachers and greater mental health and behavioral resources for students. As of Friday morning, the district and union had not come to an agreement.
Last week, the Charles Butt Foundation released the results of a survey of nearly 1,300 teachers examining job satisfaction. Of those surveyed, 77% of participants seriously considered leaving the profession in 2022, a 19% jump from the 2020 results and a 9% increase from last year. Among those considering leaving the profession, 93% have taken steps to leave such as preparing resumes or conducting job interviews within the past year. Respondents point to low pay, lack of respect from both the community and elected officials, excessive workloads, and pandemic school disruptions as reasons they want to leave the field of education. Additionally, financial burdens contribute to the attrition of teachers — in the classroom for example, about 98% of respondents say they have to buy their own supplies, with the median cost being about $500. Further, the average pay for teachers in Texas has not increased between 2010 and 2019; it instead decreased from $55,433 to $54,192, according to a University of Houston report released earlier this year.