Hawaii schools have had a problem retaining teachers, which has been the subject of national news. Teacher retention is a nationwide problem, but it is worse in Hawaii than many other places. Advocates for teachers argue that low salaries, very low starting pay, job insecurity (made worse by measures to cut tenure), lack of support from administrators and curriculums that force them to “teach to the test” are some of the root causes of the problem.
Newly hired teachers make $35,000 and top pay is currently $84,000 in Hawaii.
The result of teacher retention problems is that there is a much higher proportion of new teachers in schools, there is less continuity in educational programs, and training costs increase significantly, potentially leading to much worse education for students and less value for each tax dollar spent on education.
Nationwide, teacher pay, benefits, pensions and rights are being cut as a means of balancing state and municipal budgets. Meanwhile, private for-profit charter schools have grown significantly. Some argue that charter schools are more efficient.