Low pay in Virginia leading cause of teacher shortage

Published: Aug. 23, 2022 at 3:46 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Much like the rest of the country, Virginia is facing a teacher shortage.

One of the biggest reasons that people are less likely to get into teaching and that current teachers are considering leaving the field is because of the low pay.

“Teachers are one of the most consequential professions that there are right? Because after all, they have the future of the workforce in front of them every day,” Economic Policy Institute Research Associate Sylvia Allegretto said.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced many to understand the importance of a teacher’s role.

“Because their kids were at home, parents were trying to teach their own children, and they understood immediately how difficult this job is. It is a career, it is a profession and it is not easy,” Allegretto said.

When compared to the education and training required, as well as the demanding nature and import of the job, the low pay makes for an unattractive offer.

“Teachers in Virginia are earning about a third less than their non-teaching peers, so that is a significant difference,” Allegretto said.

Due to many factors, new teacher pay is still the same or lower than it was 20 years ago.

“When you take into account inflation, cost of living and so forth, teachers are making the same pay that they were making in 1996,” ACPS Spokesperson Phil Giaramita said.

Giaramita says that the Commonwealth is taking steps to even the discrepancy.

“The previous governor and the current governor, they built money into the state budget for teacher raises. I think that figure was 5% this year and it’s 5% again next year, and then local school divisions can increase pay beyond that,” Giaramita said. “Virginia I’m sure does not want to be number 47 out of 50 states when it comes to teacher pay.”

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