New MSEA Poll Reveals Nearly Half Of Maryland Educators Work Second Jobs, 90% Spend Their Own Money On Classroom Supplies


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MARYLAND - A new poll from the Maryland State Education Association (MSEA) reveals that almost half of all educators in Maryland work a second job to make ends meet.

The situation is particularly dire for younger and minority educators, with over 50% working additional jobs. The findings highlight a growing crisis contributing to staffing shortages in schools nationwide.

The poll indicates worsening conditions for educators:

  • 44% of educators had at least one other job in the past year, a 3% increase from 2018.
  • 52% of educators have incurred personal debt, a steep rise from 46% in 2019 and 34% in 2018.
  • 90% of educators have purchased classroom supplies from their own pockets, a figure that has remained consistent since 2018.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, Maryland teachers earn 20.3% less than professionals with similar educational attainment - around 80 cents on the dollar.

A Maryland State Education Association news release brought these statistics to life:

Kindra Stevens, a paraeducator at Harford Academy, also works as a nurse making home visits.

Laura Norman, an English teacher in Baltimore County, takes night and weekend shifts at the Hippodrome Theater.

Tammy O'Donnell, who teaches 10th-grade English in Prince George's Country, took on a job at Nationals Park to help pay off her student loans.

MSEA President Cheryl Bost emphasized the importance of resolving these issues, calling for increased investments in education and higher wages for educators.

"For our students to get the best from our educators, educators must be able to support themselves in the profession they've chosen," Bost said.

Lawmakers have acknowledged the need for action. The Blueprint for Maryland's Future, aimed at achieving greater educational equity and improving pay for educators, will establish a starting salary of $60,000 for teachers by 2026. However, advocates stress that much more needs to be done.

MSEA members are also pushing for an ESP Bill of Rights aimed at ensuring adequate living wages for educational support professionals.

The poll was conducted online by GBAO on behalf of MSEA between July 9-16, 2023, with a margin of error of +/- 1.8 percentage points. The survey involved 2,896 public school employees who are members of MSEA.

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