Giving Compass' Take:

• Carmel Martin argues that states need to take steps to modernize the teaching workforce by increasing pay and improving hiring and training practices. 

• How can funders increase the number of high-quality teachers, particularly in disadvantaged schools? 

• Learn about declining teacher pay in the U.S.

In PDK’s recent annual poll of American attitudes about education, a majority of parents said they don’t want their children to become teachers — the first such finding in the 50 years since the poll launched.

Parents cited low pay as the reason for their reluctance. They are right: Teacher pay is too low, and the problem is especially dire in states that have failed to invest in education for the past decade. In 30 states, average teacher pay is less than the living wage for a family of four. In fact, inflation-adjusted teacher salaries have actually declined since 2010. On average, teachers earn only 60 percent of what other college-educated professionals do, and in nearly all states, mid-career teachers who are the family breadwinner are eligible for at least one public assistance program designed for low-income families.

But increasing salaries is only part of what’s needed for teaching to regain its stature among parents. Dramatic changes are essential for attracting and retaining future generations of excellent teachers for our children.

Education is a profession that relies heavily on talent but doesn’t invest in it. The average school district has only one recruiter for every 2,000 students. Sixty percent of districts don’t post job openings on social media. Only 6 percent have applicants teach a lesson as part of the hiring process, and two-thirds don’t even interview prospective teachers.

Read the full article about advancing the teaching workforce by Carmel Martin at The 74.