California Educator

June/July 2019

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Page 12 of 63

Return to Paradise R I G H T A F T E R T H E devastating Camp Fire destroyed the town of Paradise in November, the Educator reported on a few heroic teachers who continued to hold class in their living rooms, Chico's public library, on Facebook Live — wherever they could gather their students and instill some normalcy into upended lives. Six months later, our reporter went back to check in on these same educators and their stu- dents. While donated materials and supplies fill the ad hoc class- rooms, teachers say they don't have enough of what they really need. "We need counselors," says Brittany Bentz. "We don't have any mental health services for us or the children." Educators are doing the best they can with their young charges, many of whom still experience panic and anxiety attacks. Read about the challenges and resilience of students, teachers and the greater community in "A Return to Paradise" at Brittany Bentz says both students and educators need more counselors. 11 J U N E / J U L Y 2 019 T H E A V E R A G E C L A S S R O O M teacher salary nationwide increased by 11.5 percent over the last decade. But after accounting for inflation, the average salary actually decreased by 4.5 percent, according to NEA's 2018-19 "Rank- ings & Estimates" report. The annual report ranks California No. 2, with an average 2017-18 salary of $80,680 (behind New York with $84,227). But the real rankings are no doubt much different. An NPR story in 2018 crunched 2016 salary figures to find that the Golden State, then ranked fourth, dropped to No. 19 after the cost of living was factored in. That cost of living has a huge impact on the new teacher pipeline: A USA Today report in June found that new teachers would have to pay almost their entire paychecks to live in California's big and expensive cities. A survey released in April by the Public Policy Institute of California, "Californians & Education," found that 61 percent of adults and 58 percent of public school parents say teachers' salaries in their community are too low, and most approve of public school teachers striking for higher pay (61 percent and 70 percent, respectively). Nearly half of adults and a majority of public school parents say a teacher shortage is currently a big problem in K-12 schools. Far fewer believe that teacher quality is a big problem. For details, see Public Policy Institute of California "Do you think salaries for teachers in your community are too high, too low, or just about right?" Too high 6% Too low 61% Just about right 30% Don't know 4% "In general, do you support or oppose public school teachers striking for higher pay?" Support 61% * Oppose 36% Don't know 3% * Support from public school parents: 70% Higher Pay for Teachers Needed, Supported

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