As state Republicans across the country, and in North Carolina, push for lackluster teacher pay and erasing public school funding, Americans are keenly aware of the impact of these measures.
Recent NPR/Ipsos polls found that parents, educators, and Americans across the board agree that teachers are overworked and underpaid.
“Even if they’re getting paid a million dollars, they’re not getting paid what they’re worth,” Mike Kerr, a registered Republican and father of two children attending public schools told NPR. “I can’t even tell you, like, I hold teachers in such high regard. Every single one of my kids’ teachers, from kindergarten now through seventh grade, I have absolutely adored.“
In addition, most Americans believe “teaching is a worthwhile profession that deserves respect”, and admit they would be “concerned” about their child’s financial future if they wanted to become a teacher.
“We need to help support teachers as much as we can so that the good ones aren’t burning out and, you know, finding waitressing jobs because they can either get more money or they just don’t want to deal with it,” Sylvia Gonzales, a teacher in Dallas, told NPR.
In North Carolina, the number of teaching vacancies has risen in public schools by more than 50 percent; with the state seeing more than 5,500 instructional vacancies on the first day of this school year — a 46% increase from the same time in the 2020-21 school year, according to The News and Observer.
Advocates have pointed to low teacher pay raises, classroom censorship, book bans, and implementation of anti-teacher and discriminatory policies as factors in the increasing teacher shortage.
“We’re really tying [teachers’] hands,” Amanda Hickerson, a Republican parent in southeast Virginia, told NPR. “I wouldn’t go to my mechanic and tell him how to fix my car… So why are we doing this to our teachers? It just doesn’t make any sense to me.”