People of Richmond: What should WCCUSD do to recruit more teachers?
on October 14, 2022
“People of Richmond” is a regular series in which reporters pose a question to people in the community. Answers are presented verbatim, though sometimes edited for brevity.
Q: What should be done to address the teacher shortage in the West Contra Costa Unified School District?
“Pay them a living wage, increase taxes on corporations so we can pay them a living wage, and also of course housing. Housing is so expensive here…a lot of teachers can’t afford to live here. Cost of living combined with low wages makes it so even if you want to teach in Contra Costa County, you can’t.” (Ashley Thomas, stay-at-home mom)
“You have to make the job attractive. It’s hard to make a living here on a school teacher’s salary. They have to offer incentives to support people to come into the industry again, because what better job is there than teaching?” Zina Slaughter, executive director of UC SHIP)
“Maybe re-examine the requirements to teach. Obviously housing is always an issue for teachers, they can never make enough to live in the area they teach. Paul Sundstrom(Paul Sundstrom, landscape contractor)
“They need to come up with a plan to make it more affordable for teachers to live in the area where they serve. It’s hard to live on the current wage. If the salary is raised, that’ll definitely draw some attention. Those guys in the NBA and NFL make a ton of money for entertainment. Our teachers should be making that money. They are teaching the future. It needs to be noticed that what they are doing is important.” (Duane Patton, musician)
“Offer more benefits and increase their salaries. Some teachers need to commute from far and the price of gas is going up. The price of everything is going up, so their salaries should go up too. They went to school to be able to teach. They go to school for so long to become teachers so they need the pay to match, to make it worth their investment. They should at least make as much as a construction worker, if not more.” (Edith Rodriguez)
“Teachers should be the most valued part of society. Teachers need to be better compensated. Teachers have to buy their own supplies and their job goes far beyond teaching.”(Lin Gentry, retired firefighter)
“They need to be compensated properly for the job they’re doing for the kids out here. The money for supplies for the kids should not come out of their pockets. We need to remember that teachers have lives and children of their own too. They get sick too. So don’t make it so tough to wear the teacher’s hat. Teachers struggle so much for no reason. With the pandemic and even now, when we’re supposedly coming out of the pandemic, they’re still struggling. Compensate them better.” (Shari Carr, hospital eligibility worker)
“Increase the salaries of those who deserve it, those who are qualified, so that they don’t leave. We also need it to help the economy. There are schools here who are not in need of teachers but then there are schools who do need more instructors. There are preferences for some students over others.” (Sergio Zambrano, micro business owner)
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The teacher requirement / union rules need to be re-negotiated. “Increase the salaries of those who deserve it” is exactly what is needed. Multiple highly qualified teachers have moved to adjacent districts that pay better. Also expand who can be a teacher. Our school has has several excellent substitutes who would like to be full time teachers, but can’t because of credentials. Having a merit qualification system that includes student outcome and student / parents perception would certainly help.
You support hiring highly qualified teachers but are willing to lower those qualifications? Oy.
How can you simultaneously maintain highly qualified teachers (an actual designation with requirements) in the district AND lower qualifications for teachers to enter the field?
The federal government supplements GS (General Service) employees with locality pay; cost of living adjustment in certain locales. At present, locality pay in CC County is at 42.7%. Maybe WCCUSD should adopt a similar pay adjustment schedule to attract and retain educators.