Nearly 70% of LAUSD teachers consider leaving education profession: study

A new report released Monday revealed 70% of educators within the Los Angeles Unified School District have seriously considered leaving the profession due to the material conditions within the district, according to United Teachers Los Angeles. 

The report, "Burned Out, Priced Out: Solutions to the Educator Shortage Crisis," also found that 60% of veteran teachers with 20 or more years of experience cannot afford to live in the community where they teach, and 28% of UTLA educators are working a second job to be able to cover basic living expenses.

Educators said the stress of having to work additional jobs to supplement one's teaching salary is a key factor driving them out of the classroom. 

"Since the pandemic, I have seen some of the best, most dedicated teachers I know stop teaching due to the exhaustion of being a teacher full time and having to work a second job just to make ends meet. The labor of teachers is often dismissed as an act of service but the truth is that teachers are real workers who ensure our communities are surviving while also dealing with rising rents, inflation and shrinking resources. This "act of service" narrative blames the struggles that arise from poor school funding on individual teachers and ignores the systemic causes behind today’s current reality" said Gina Grey, English teacher at Middle College High School and a member of UTLA.

The report also found that in the average annual salary for a bachelor's degree-holding worker in Los Angeles was between $94,000 and $101,000 over the past five years, while the average annual salary for an LAUSD teacher was between $74,000 and $79,000.

As 65% of LAUSD educators deal with student loan debt, and the average amount owed by a teacher is $55,800, the report revealed.

Some of the steps that the district can take to help retain teachers are outlined in the report. They include raising teacher salaries across the board by 20%, ensure smaller class sizes, and make sure schools are fully staffed with nurses, social workers, and counselors that students need.