Union Poll: Teachers Working Second Jobs, Buying School Supplies

    Almost all of Maryland’s teachers pay for school supplies out of their own pockets – and about half work a second job to have the money to do so.

    That’s according to a poll of 800 Maryland State Education Association members in July.

    The teachers’ union, which represents more than 74,000 educators and school employees statewide, commissioned the survey.

    MSEA says the figures reported this year are up from responses to the same questions a year ago.

    In the last year, 94% of Maryland educators paid for school supplies out of their own pocket, an increase over the 91% who said the same in 2018.

    In the last year, 50% of Maryland educators held a second job to make ends meet — up 9 points from the 41% who held a second job the year before.

    That issue is more acute among younger educators. For those under 30 years old, 57% worked a second job in the last year.

    The poll carried a margin of error of 3.5 points, according to GBAO Strategies, which surveyed members between July 8 and 11.

    MSEA has been pushing for education reforms through the Kirwan Commission and related legislation.

    In 2019, lawmakers passed a bill that increased teacher salaries throughout the state by 4.5 percent. The commission’s recommendations would continue to raise teacher salaries over the course of a decade or more until they are similar to other professions requiring similar degrees.

    “Educators should be able to focus on their students — not on running to a second job or running up debt just to make ends meet,” said Baltimore County elementary school teacher and MSEA President Cheryl Bost. “While the passage of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future during the 2019 legislative session was a good first step, we need to take action during the coming school year to finally end the underfunding of our schools and make sure that every neighborhood in the state has a great public school for our students.”

    The one-page poll memo is online.

    [email protected]

    Danielle E. Gaines
    Danielle Gaines most recently worked for Bethesda Beat covering Montgomery County. Previously, she spent six years at The Frederick News-Post as the paper’s principal government and politics reporter for half that time, covering courts and legal affairs before that. She also reported for the now-defunct The Gazette of Politics and Business in Maryland and previously worked as a county government and education reporter at the Merced Sun-Star in California’s Central Valley.