Since we’ll be on the subject of the School District for a while, here’s something that I think is really important and it was only mentioned by one of the candidates for the School Board position as being critical for AUSD: teacher retention.
But mostly we always look at teacher retention from a salary and compensation perspective, but salary and compensation is only one of the issues facing teachers in Alameda and the Bay Area in general. Finding housing that is affordable is becoming an increasing concern and if our teachers are unable to secure housing then it won’t matter how much we are able to pay. Yesterday, City Lab had a piece on this precise issue, highlights:
Finding and keeping an affordable place to live can be an all-consuming chore in Silicon Valley. Some of the area’s teachers, administrators, and teachers have to live two hours from school to find housing that fits their budget. Some combine two families into one apartment. Others move in with relatives. “They drive here when it’s really early and (there’s) little traffic. They sleep in their car for a few hours and then they start work,” San Mateo Union High School District Superintendent Kevin Skelly says of some teachers who live more than 60 miles away. Other staff members are technically homeless. “We have teachers who are couchsurfing,” he says. “It’s brutal.”
There are reported teacher shortages all over the Bay Area and yet the solution to teacher shortages in some cities are to truncate the process to becoming a teacher instead of retaining the teachers that already exist that leave for greener pastures or more affordable housing.
And even as much as we say we value education and how we’ll summit any mountain to benefit our children, we still balk at ensuring that the human beings in charge of educating our kids don’t have to wake up at 4:00 a.m. to beat the traffic to be at school at 8:20 sharp to teacher those kids, from the City Lab piece:
Other Silicon Valley and Bay Area public school districts have considered teacher housing, but not all have been able to get the surrounding public on board. Cupertino Union School District had been considering teacher housing, but Superintendent Wendy Gudalewicz says the district had to nix the plan due to “lack of community support.”
I know that this School District has toyed around with the topic of building housing for teachers and it will be interesting to see what the response if this proposal ever gets pitched to the community.