Public school teachers grapple with 80-hour work weeks on tight salaries, with little creative freedom, while the media attacks their unions—and on top of all that, they face mass layoffs on a regular basis. In San Francisco, for example, 2,800 teachers were warned last week that their jobs were at risk, writes Dave Eggers in the San Francisco Chronicle. The threat isn’t just to teachers: “There is no child psychologist who will tell you that children thrive amid chaos and uncertainty.”
In every one of the past four years, and nine of the last 20, thousands of California teachers have been told they might be axed. The "unconscionable" lack of security takes its toll even when teachers are rehired: After they’ve spent months with “one eye on the classroom and one eye on job possibilities elsewhere,” school morale plummets. It’s no surprise that 46% of teachers leave the profession within five years—turnover costs the US $5 billion. With some 1.8 million due to retire in the next decade, we’ve got to fill their spots, Eggers notes. An upcoming San Francisco ballot measure proposes tax increases to protect teachers’ jobs. Let's vote for it, says Eggers. "We have to put an end to this."