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Low pay for Arizona teachers lowers morale and retention

Arizona teachers salaries that are among the lowest in the nation drive down teacher morale and make retention difficult, education advocates say.


arizona teachers


Arizona elementary school teacher pay is the lowest in the nation when adjusted for statewide cost-of-living. While Arizona’s high school teachers pay ranks 49th of the 50 states, according to a Morrison Institute for Public Policy survey in May.

The average pay for elementary school teachers in Arizona is nearly $43,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many teachers pay for classroom supplies with their own money, according to Expect More Arizona, an education advocacy group.

Wendy Fry moved to Arizona from Iowa to teach but was paid $10,000 less annually than she made in Iowa.

“The pay is awful and class sizes are too large to effectively teach,” Fry said. Many students fall through the cracks, and that’s not fair to the teacher or the students. ”

Frustrated teachers leave the profession or pursue teaching jobs in other states that offer better pay, said Michelle Doherty, 2017 Arizona Teacher of the Year.

“We try to stay positive, passionate, productive,” Jackie Figueroa, an Arizona teacher for 30 years, said. ’ ”

About 40 percent of teachers work an additional job, either during the school year or over the summer, to earn extra money, according to the Morrison survey.

“What we’re concerned with is that the teachers that are choosing to stay in the career aren’t going past five years because either there’s pay freezes, the wages are low, or whatever,” Doherty said. ”

More than 20 percent of teachers hired from 2013 to 2015 stopped working after a year. More than 40 percent stopped working as Arizona teachers after three years, the survey says.

arizona teachers


And there aren’t enough teachers to meet classroom needs in the state. Arizona is losing more teachers than gaining graduates with bachelor in education degrees, according to the survey. About 85 percent of rural administrators reported it was somewhat or extremely difficult to hire new teachers, according to the survey.

“When a young person says, ‘Well I want to go into teaching,’ the community response should be, ‘Yes, we support you, that’s a great choice,’” said Erin Hart, chief operating officer for Expect More Arizona.

Source: Low pay for Arizona teachers lowers morale, retention | Cronkite News