The consumer price index in the United States rose at the fastest rate this year since December 1981; many workers found wages unable to keep up.
This is the case of teachers resigning across the country, a mass exodus called the “great resignation of teachers”. The National Education Association reported in February that 55% of educators surveyed said they were leaving their profession sooner than initially expected.
For the Corvallis School District, however, human resources director Jennifer Duvall said the district isn’t seeing a higher-than-average number of teacher quits for the CSD.
“We’ve only had a few retirements this year and those have been based on age and eligibility,” Duvall said. “We don’t always get the reasons for resignations. Of those who have shared, it is to get closer or be with family.
For teachers in Corvallis, Oregon, the average salary per full-time equivalent is $72,315.50, according to director of finance and operations Olivia Meyers Buch. That’s nearly $12,000 more than the average teacher salary nationwide, or about 20 percent above the national average.
However, Corvallis is also in the top 6% of the most expensive cities in the world, with some teachers finding it nearly impossible to live in the same city where they work.
“Unless they grew up there and inherited a house, you don’t have the ability or any kind of access to be able to afford the houses in the area for you,” said a teacher from Corvallis, who wished to remain anonymous for job security reasons. . “It forces teachers to commute. It just doesn’t seem appropriate when you’re teaching kids who live in the area. »
According to the Corvallis teacher, salaries increase with the number of years worked in the district at rates of 1 to 2 percent. There are no built-in contingencies when inflation rises as high as it did last year.
“At the end of the day, I’m still happy to be a teacher,” the teacher said. “I think that’s something a lot of people who work for CSD can accept.”
Although it’s not always CSD’s fault, according to the teacher, they feel they received less respect and appreciation as a teacher.
“After the [COVID-19] the pandemic has kind of cooled off, we’ve gone back to the status quo that teachers are just an asset that we use, and we pay our taxes and they get paid through that,” the teacher said.
As to why teacher turnover rates are not as high as one might have expected, the Corvallis teacher thinks teachers feel trapped in their jobs.
“I know we’re sort of stuck between a rock and a hard place,” the teacher said. “A lot of people who are teachers have nowhere to go in industry or in private industry.”
According to the teacher, due to the current configuration of Oregon’s public employee retirement system, most teachers can only continue to teach.
“When you work for Oregon as a state employee, you cannot transfer and take for another [state],” the teacher said.
The PERS system is limited to Oregon only, which means state employees can only expect to be able to transfer their progress to retirement if they transfer jobs in the state.
“I think sometimes the administration knows that teachers are stuck where they are, so they can ask them to do just about anything they need to do to make the district or the public or the state happy, in the as they ‘asked us to do’, the teacher said.