Edvoice - Issues

California eyes teacher pay boosts to keep them in state

April 2 | Los Angeles Daily News

By Beau Yarbrough

A bipartisan group of Sacramento legislators are polishing up a bushel of apples, with bills intended to increase the number of teachers in California’s schools — and keep them from fleeing the state, or the profession entirely, a few years in.

“If there’s not a whole lot of support and they’re working long hours for low money, they leave the field,” said Wendy Murawski, the executive director and Eisner Endowed Chair of Cal State Northridge’s Center for Teaching and Learning. “Everybody comes in and wants to give 110 percent, but you can’t do that long term.”

The bills introduced this year include ones that give teachers tax credits, exempt them from state income taxes, prevent districts from charging new teachers fees, give financial incentives for teaching in under-served communities and provide grants for them to teach certain hard-to-fill subjects.

Teachers sound off on SF’s slow pace on housing crisis

March 23 | San Francisco Chronicle

By Heather Knight

Anybody used to sitting through public comment at Board of Supervisors meetings knows the vent sessions are usually mind-numbing affairs requiring a lot of caffeine and even more patience.

That certainly wasn’t the case Wednesday night as scores of teachers lined up to speak for hours about the devastation being wrought on their profession in San Francisco. The stories were riveting and heart-wrenching. Two-, three- and even five-hour daily commutes. Paying 75 percent of their salary for a studio apartment for their family of three. The “lucky” ones who have their own in-law units without kitchens.

Working two or three side jobs to make rent. Couch-surfing with other teachers after an eviction. Seeing multiple colleagues from their schools leave every year for better salaries and cheaper rent elsewhere. Wondering how much longer they can remain in the job they love.

California school districts increased spending on administrator pay faster than teacher pay

By Phillip Reese

As funding grew following years of budget cuts, California school districts increased spending for administrator pay faster than they raised spending for teacher pay, a Bee review of state financial data found.

General fund spending by school districts on teacher salaries rose by 15 percent, or $3 billion, from the 2010-11 school year to 2015-16. During the same period, administrator pay grew by 27 percent, or $700 million.

Adjusted for inflation, California’s school districts spent less money on teacher salaries in 2015-16 than they did in 2006-2007, the last year before the recession. The opposite was true for administrators: Districts spent slightly more on administrators in 2015-16 than they did during the year before the recession.

L.A. Unified diverts funding for neediest students, report changes

March 20 | EdSource

By John Fensterwald

Los Angeles Unified has steered additional money to high schools with large concentrations of disadvantaged students over the past three years, but failed to do so for elementary schools, a report released Monday concluded. For those schools, the district ignored the requirement of the Local Control Funding Formula to direct extra resources and establish effective programs in schools with low-income students, foster youths, homeless students and English learners, which the law defines as high-needs students.

To retain teachers, lawmakers push to exempt them from state income tax

March 19 | EdSource

By Fermin Leal

Teachers on the job for at least five years would be exempt from paying state income taxes under a bill that aims to increase the number of teachers entering and staying in the profession.

Senate Bill 807, or the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Act, is part of a series of bills lawmakers are currently proposing to help ease California’s teacher shortage.

SB 807 would also provide tax credits for education students working to obtain their credential or advanced degrees. If it becomes law, California would be the first state in the nation to exempt teachers from paying state taxes.

Proposed Bill To Give Tax Break To CA Teachers

March 15 | My Mother Lode

By B.J. Hansen

In an effort to attract and retain additional educators, a proposed bill paves the way for teachers to have their income tax exempt after five years on the job.

Author of the bill, Senator Henry Stern of Los Angeles, says “Teachers are the original job creators. The teaching profession is critical to California’s economic success and impacts every vocation and profession in the state. SB 807 addresses the immediate teacher shortage and sends a loud and clear message across the state and nation:  California values teachers.”

In bid to recruit teachers, California weighs income tax exemption

March 13 | The Progressive Pulse

By Billy Ball

Here’s one innovative approach to solving a nationwide teacher shortage: Exempt educators altogether from paying income taxes.

That’s the proposal out of California, according to a report this weekend from the U.S. News & World Report.

It comes as states, including North Carolina, struggle to bait young people into joining a profession notorious for long hours and low pay. In North Carolina, it’s a major problem, with state reports pointing to droves of exiting teachers amid waning interest in teaching programs in the university system. 

Officials say California’s proposal marks the first time a U.S. state has considered such a landmark tax exemption for teachers, although states have talked over similar proposals for law enforcement officers.

California Teachers Income Tax Bill Aims to Attract Educators

March 13 | NewsMax

By Jerry Shaw

California could become the first state in the U.S. to eliminate income tax for teachers as a way to attract and retain more people in the education profession.

Two state Senate Democrats have proposed the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Act as a remedy for California’s teacher shortage crisis. Noticeable shortages have been strikingly evident for the past three years, U.S. News reported. A survey of 211 state school districts revealed that 75 percent reported teacher shortages during the 2016-17 school year.

California’s new school ratings: Are they better or just confusing?

March 17 | Sacramento Bee

By Dan Walters

If Gray Davis’ governorship achieved anything of importance before he was recalled by voters, it was a system for rating academic achievement in the state’s public schools.

Driven by standardized testing, the Academic Performance Index (API) provided each school with a score on how well its students were progressing.

It had a substantial impact. Parents used the scores to compare their schools with others and demand improvements – even to the point of using a “parent trigger” to take over some poor-performing schools and convert them into charters.

However, the education establishment – and especially the California Teachers Association – hated the API. It was, the critics said, too simplistic and implied that educators should be held solely responsible for outcomes, without taking into account such factors as poverty or lack of English skills.


Bill Aims to Tackle California's Teacher Shortage

March 14 | NBC News Channel 4

By Peggy Bunker

A new bill is aimed at tackling California's teacher shortage.

Senate Bill 807, which is being called the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Act of 2017, would exempt teachers from paying state taxes after five years in the classroom.

"I know some people personally that have had to leave the profession or move cities because of just how much it costs to live here," said Benji Coleman-Levy, a math teacher.

The average annual salary for a California teacher is around $59,000. Supporter said the tax break proposed in the bill would be equivalent to a 4 to 6 percent raise