Palm Beach County teachers face grim choices, as detailed in this story by Marc Freeman. They have not received a raise since the 2008-09 school year and now are asking for only a $500 raise for next year as long as none has to take an unpaid furlough.
This modest proposal shows me they understand the school district has little money for raises with a $35 million deficit. The school district had offered a choice of no raises and no furloughs, or a one-day furlough and raises for teachers in their first 10 years of employment (so the district can better compete with neighboring counties).
None of these options bodes well for the future of the profession. The economy is unlikely to improve for a while, meaning teachers likely will continue not to get raises. Who would want to enter a field where you know you will not get a raise and will be criticized for the benefits you get?
It amazes me that my kids have gotten consistently good teachers in spite of these obstacles. It shows you become a teacher because you love to teach, not because you expect a lucrative future.