So much for Teacher Appreciation Week

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A new study on teacher pay found that when adjusted for inflation teachers on average are earning $2,179 less than they did 10 years ago — even while educators are still expected to fork out hundreds of dollars from their own wallets to pay for basic supplies.

Republican-led states are now restricting what teachers can say in classrooms about race, racism, gender and other subjects — preventing educators from telling the truth to kids — while some Republicans are wildly accusing teachers or public schools in general of grooming kids.

Teachers to culture warriors: Stop treating us as enemies

Polls — including a new nationally representative survey commissioned by the Winston School of Education and Social Policy at Merrimack College and conducted by the EdWeek Research Center — find that the job satisfaction by teachers is at an all-time low.

Chronic teacher shortages have worsened in state after state, with policymakers scrambling to find ways to fill classrooms. In Louisiana, there is a bill moving forward in the legislature to bring back some retired teachers for double pay and benefits. “We just cannot have as many unfilled classrooms as we do right now,” KALB5 quoted state Rep. Rick Edmonds (R) as saying. “It’s an urgent need in the state of Louisiana.”

Welcome to Teacher Appreciation Week 2022, an annual event sponsored by Parent Teacher Association designed to, well, appreciate teachers.

So this week, we saw appreciation. There were tweets from political leaders and others saying they appreciate teachers in general and, sometimes, more specifically, with shout-outs to their favorites.

Some school districts offered tokens of appreciation to teachers.

Some education and other companies offered giveaways and gift certificates to teachers who did certain tasks, such as liking a particular social media post, following a game, tagging a fellow educator.

And there were some unusual gifts.

But mostly, what teachers said they wanted was what any professional wants: fair salaries, proper working conditions, respect and the freedom to tell the truth to their students.

According to the 2022 edition of the annual teacher salary report issued by the National Education Association, the largest union in the country, the national average public school teacher salary for 2020-21 was $65,293. State average teacher salaries ranged from those in New York — $90,222 — to Mississippi — 6,862.

And despite the pressures on them, teachers — at least some of them — remained hopeful.

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