The financial stress of teaching in regions of fast economic growth

The financial stress of teaching in regions of fast economic growth

This report highlights the financial stress facing teachers in regions of fast economic growth and high property values. Teachers in the San Francisco Bay Area report far greater financial anxiety than do samples of adults and workers from across the nation. Public schools in areas of increasing property values and other living costs cannot simply relocate teachers to areas with reasonable property values and short commutes. Teaching differs from the vast majority of other professions because of the need for geographic dispersion. Areas of great economic growth, as well as those of low economic opportunity and low appeal to many college graduates, need teachers for their students. This geographic dispersion of need creates great unevenness in the difficulty of recruiting and retaining teachers. Currently low wages are driving economic anxiety in many parts of country, but in others, even increasing wages are not keeping pace with living costs. The new research shows that these rising costs are creating substantial economic anxiety among teachers and possibly affecting their teaching practice.

Susanna Loeb

Brookings Institute

May 2018

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