A recent survey reveals that a significant percentage of teachers in Maryland are grappling with financial struggles, a trend raising concerns about the state’s ability to attract and retain educators. The poll, carried out over the summer, surveyed more than 2,800 Maryland State Education Association (MSEA) members. It found that 44% of teachers had taken up a second job within the last year to make ends meet.

Cheryl Bost, president of MSEA, said the poll sheds light on the ongoing challenges in retaining teachers in the state. “This is another piece of information that shows why this job is tough,” Bost stated. “It’s hard to recruit and retain educators when nearly 50% of those surveyed work a second job, which means they have less time to concentrate on their lesson plans, grading, and talking to parents because they’re trying to figure out how they’re going to make ends meet.”

The survey results also indicated that younger teachers are more likely to seek additional employment, with 61% of those under 30 reporting working second jobs. Moreover, the data showed that 52% of Maryland teachers have taken on personal debt within the last year, marking a 6% increase compared to the last poll conducted in 2019.

Teachers are facing the burden of additional employment and personal debt and shouldering the cost of classroom supplies. Bost mentioned, “Our survey also pointed out that 90% of teachers go into their pocket to bring supplies into the classroom. That’s to help with reading instruction, science instruction; trying to make education and learning fun for our students, that comes out of our pocket.”

To tackle these challenges, Maryland has initiated programs like the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, passed in 2021, which aims to raise the minimum teacher salary to $60,000 statewide by 2026. Despite these efforts, the state still faces persistent teacher shortages reports, according to MSEA officials.

The implications of these survey findings are manifold. They reflect the financial hardships endured by a large segment of the teaching workforce and raise questions about the overall quality of education that students will receive. Teachers stretched thin by financial worries and second jobs will likely have less time and focus to devote to educational planning and student engagement.

This recent poll from the Maryland State Education Association underscores the urgent need for systemic solutions that can offer teachers better pay and conditions, thereby enhancing both the recruitment and retention of educators in the state.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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