Poll: Maryland Educators Facing Financial Strains

Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Adam Mendelson
(410) 353-9689

More than 40% of Maryland educators work a second job to make ends meet

A new poll of Maryland educators finds that many educators work second jobs, spend their own money on school supplies, and run up personal debt just to make ends meet.

Poll findings include:

  • In the last year, 91% of Maryland educators paid for school supplies out of their own pocket.
  • In the last year, 41% of Maryland educators held a second job to make ends meet. Among educators under 30 years old, 61% worked a second job in the last year. Forty-eight percent of educators of color worked a second job in the last year.
  • Debt is a problem for many educators; 34% have run up personal debt to make ends meet over the last year and 37% have student debt. Among educators under 50 years old, 49% have student debt. Among educators of color of all ages, 51% have student debt.

“Far too many educators are struggling to make ends meet. It’s clear that Maryland needs to do more for our teachers and school staff,” said Baltimore County elementary teacher and MSEA President Cheryl Bost. “Educators devote their lives to making a difference for every single child in their community, yet as a state we have allowed educators to become undervalued. The Kirwan Commission, legislators, and local officials must address this problem head-on so we can recruit and retain the talented and dedicated educators our kids need and deserve.”

The poll also found that:

  • 71% of educators agree with the statement “inadequate staffing levels make it hard to keep my head above water during the school day.”
  • 69% of educators agree with the statement “my school does not have the funding we need to help every student be successful.”
  • 62% of educators agree with the statement “my salary makes it hard for my family to make ends meet.”

The Kirwan Commission is developing final recommendations to address the $2.9 billion in annual underfunding of Maryland’s public schools identified by an independent analysis overseen by the Maryland State Department of Education. The Commission’s recommendations will be taken up by the 2019 General Assembly with the expectation that the state will revise its school funding formula for the first time in nearly two decades.

Research has found that Maryland teachers make 84 cents on the dollar compared to other professions requiring similar education, and that more than 24,000 education support professionals—like paraprofessionals, cafeteria workers, and custodians—do not make a living wage in Maryland.

For the full poll memo, click here. The poll was conducted by GBA Strategies on behalf of the Maryland State Education Association. The survey of 800 public school employees who are members of MSEA was conducted July 17-22, 2018 and reached respondents on both landlines and cell phones. The survey results carry a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points at the 95% confidence interval.

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