Teacher Jamie Fidler spent $3,000 of her own money on basic school supplies (American Teacher)The new documentary "American Teacher" argues that the country's 3.2 million teachers are under-compensated and under-valued. The film profiles four enthusiastic public school teachers who are struggling to survive on their salaries. One teacher reluctantly leaves his job for a better salary as a real estate agent. (A former student of his tells the camera she cried when he left.) And another holds down an after-school job at a consumer electronics store to make ends meet, dreading "embarrassing" run-ins with acquaintances at the store.
The leaders of both major teachers' unions, Randi Weingarten and Dennis Van Roekel, introduced the documentary at its premiere Sunday evening in New York City's Rockefeller Center, praising the film for raising awareness about how hard the nation's educators work. The movie cites a 2006 survey by the National Education Association union finding that 62 percent of teachers hold second jobs to make ends meet. Nearly half of all teachers leave before their fifth year, many citing the low salary and difficult working conditions.Read More »from ‘American Teacher’ film argues teachers aren’t paid enough, but ignores merit pay debate