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TGIF—finally ready for the long weekend 🙏🏽

Plus, L.A.'s teachers are facing tough choices

Hey y’all! I’m sure you’re itching to get your long weekend started if you’re fortunate enough to have Monday off. I hope everyone can get to the beach to enjoy the perfect forecast now that the heatwave is over before pumpkin spice lattes and sweater weather take over.

With Labor Day coming, I want to highlight the folks fighting for their rights as workers here in L.A. The Writers Guild of America is on Day 123 of their strike, and the Screen Actors Guild has been on strike for 49 days. Unfortunately, struggles for better conditions, terms and pay are present in many other industries, too.

This week’s story is about Los Angeles County’s severe lack of teachers. Moreover, low pay and burnout aren’t keeping teachers in their jobs or attracting new ones.

Check out this week’s featured story on teacher turnover and have a great long weekend!



(Photo illustration by Hal Marie Haga/AfroLA; photo credit: Shutterstock)

Schools just re-opened. How bad is the teacher vacancy problem?

Three weeks into Los Angeles Unified’s fall term, L.A. County has nearly 5,572 teacher vacancies, a 24% increase from last year, and roughly 22% of the open spots statewide, according to the California Department of Education. Special education teachers are in the highest demand, as well as teachers of self-contained classes, in which one teacher has the same students for multiple subjects (a common practice for students with special needs).

One of the most significant barriers is the region's high cost of living.

Many teachers have to decide between enduring long commutes from more affordable areas or coming to terms with the fact they’ll never be able to afford a home in their school’s district on their teacher salary. Some teachers work additional jobs to make ends meet, especially if they have dependents.

What some teachers and educational advocates find frustrating is that in districts like Beverly Hills Unified, where 69% of students are white, the salary for a first-year teacher is $67,641. But, in Inglewood Unified School District, where Black and Latine students are the majority, new teachers earn $47,156—roughly 43% less, discouraging teachers from communities of color.

Mounting pressures to serve students without any support system is leading to burnout.

Beyond better pay and more help, teachers also yearn for greater respect for their profession. Teachers often go above and beyond their job descriptions, especially during and in the aftermath of the pandemic.

For many young teachers, low pay and burnout make the profession unsustainable in the long term. Teachers of color are also expected to address the racial and ethnic disparities in student achievement with very little support from administrators, fellow coworkers and even the school system.

Moreover, financial barriers to becoming a teacher make it more difficult to enter the field. For many prospective teachers, the burden of student loans feels financially impractical, considering the modest starting salary for the job.

Read the full story for more context on how teachers are faring with dismal benefits, overwhelming workloads and lack of affordable housing.


From left to right, Jessica Peak, Raziel Vela, Christopher Moreno, Eddie Parra, Dustin Rodriguez and Paul Samaniego sit together on a couch framed by the U.S. flag inside the Veteran Resource Center office of East Los Angeles College, where they help veterans transition into students at the college. (Richard H. Grant/AfroLA)

Community college counselors are concerned about the number of unhoused or housing-insecure student veterans on their campuses. Many veterans don’t have a W-2 to show proof of income, credit history or references, which would allow them to access traditional forms of housing. This is among the plethora of other stresses that inhibit veterans’ ability to access reliable housing, like mental health issues and predatory landlords.

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As you know, sometimes we republish content from other mission-aligned news outlets to supplement our own coverage to keep you up to date on all the important news regarding L.A.'s Black community and communities of color.

Don’t forget to check out "AfroLA's Take," where we explain why we chose to share that particular story with our audience. This week, we thought these articles deserved a read:

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