Can teacher housing entice educators to work in expensive cities?

Can teacher housing entice educators to work in expensive cities?

Experiments in making life as a teacher more affordable show how rising real estate costs hurt urban districts

Teaching crises have challenged American education for decades. Increasing enrollment, substandard facilities, and a scramble to find a way to pay for solutions: Today’s familiar pressures were making headlines back in 1954. At the time, in another example of “same news, different day,” the San Francisco superintendent of schools declared that the city’s teacher shortage was “acute.”

While the issue may be the same, today’s teaching crises in the Bay Area have taken on dimensions that postwar administrators couldn’t have imagined. San Francisco and its surrounding communities offer the most extreme case studies that showcase the challenging math of making it, and making a home, as an urban school teacher.

According to Apartment List data, fifth-year teachers in the city have to spend nearly 70 percent of their income to rent a one-bedroom, and Trulianoted that the city’s teachers can only afford .04 percent of the homes in the entire city. A recent profile in theSan Francisco Chronicle told the story of a public high school math teacher, Etoria Cheeks, who is homeless, despite carrying a full load of classes as well as coaching and tutoring students after school.

Housing has become such a drain on salaries that San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee recently announced the city would build its own rental housing in the Outer Sunset neighborhood specifically for teachers. This is yet another sign, coupled with the prevalence of couchsurfing and long commutes, that its educators are losing the battle against escalating rent.

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