The challenges facing teachers and schools across the country are not limited to the education of children in America’s poorest districts.
It is also a challenge that impacts the communities they serve, said Jennifer Stoll, director of education for the Center for American Progress, which advocates for more education in the United States.
“There’s a big gap between the quality of education in America and the quality in places like New York City and Chicago,” she said.
New York City’s teacher shortages are not just a local problem, said Stoll.
Students in Chicago are facing the same problems, she said, and that’s because the city’s public school system was designed to educate all children.
But the lack of quality education has been a constant for decades.
The Chicago Teachers Union is leading the charge to raise teacher pay.
In 2013, the district paid its last full-time teacher with a contract worth $13,000, up from $11,500 in 2008.
But the union is hoping to get that pay back with a new contract that would include $15,000 for a full-timers salary and a $15 hourly wage.
That would be a $20,000 increase from the current contract.
The CTU is also pushing for $15 an hour.
In New York, the union says it has the power to increase that to $15 by 2025.
But it’s not the only organization looking to boost pay.
The National Education Association, which represents more than 6,000 public school teachers, has joined the CTU and the National Association of School Boards in calling for the union to raise the salary.
The union has said that its goal is $15 per hour, and Stoll said that is just a starting point.
“We want to go much higher than that,” she explained.
And that’s not just about pay.
New York’s schools are ranked among the worst in the nation, with the state’s schools rated the worst of all 50 states by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a measure of students’ progress.
That puts the state in the top 25 states for math, science and reading, according to the NEA’s report.
Teachers also are being asked to teach at a higher pace than they were 20 years ago.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about 12% of teachers now teach at more than 40% of the schools they teach in.
In Chicago, those numbers are only 9%.
The Chicago Public Schools are ranked second for math in the state.
And, in New York State, a study published in 2017 found that students who live in neighborhoods where there are fewer than 20 teachers were less likely to have access to high-quality, affordable education.
“It’s not surprising that we see a lot of this,” said Michael G. Cohen, president of the New York Public School Educators Association, an advocacy group for school districts.
“There are so many factors, so many variables.
We need to understand how we can best manage that.”