Urgent Call for Equitable Teacher Salaries to Address CTE Instructor Attrition



At a recent Board of Career and Technical Education (CTE) meeting, the alarmingly high departure rate of CTE instructors was front and center. Executive Director Anton Döös shared insights, emphasizing that this challenge extends beyond the local setting to a national scale. He highlighted innovative retention strategies from other states, like notable salary boosts for nationally certified teachers, underscoring the pressing need for competitive compensation to retain talent.

The dialogue pointed towards a fundamental recognition of the value of educators, equating their societal contribution to that of doctors or lawyers. “The government’s commitment to competitive salaries is crucial to retaining our educators,” Mr. Döös stressed, pointing out the stark reality facing the educational sector if changes are not made.

The discussion also touched on resistance from teacher unions, particularly in St. Croix, against higher pay for CTE teachers over their counterparts. Board chair Joane Murphy expressed concern over the dire predictions of continued instructor attrition without swift and decisive action.

Suggestions for engaging with the Department of Education to advocate for better compensation were made, highlighting the urgency due to ongoing contract negotiations. Additionally, Dale Louis Gaubatz from the University of the Virgin Islands shed light on the financial strains faced by educators in the territory, compared to other regions with similar living costs, further emphasizing the need for financial incentives to attract and retain quality teachers.

The potential for federal grant funding to support CTE instructors was also discussed, offering a glimmer of hope for a sustainable solution to the attrition crisis. The collective sentiment underscored the essential role of teachers in shaping future generations and the critical need for immediate action to ensure their retention through fair and competitive remuneration.

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