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Chicago public school teachers and their supporters picket on Oct. 17. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

There's a shortfall in education across the U.S., with more than 300,000 unfilled public teaching jobs needed to keep up with enrollment, according to an analysis from the Economic Policy Institute.

Driving the news: 25,000 Chicago Public School teachers have been on strike for more than a week, asking for capped class sizes, higher salaries and more hiring capacity for teachers' assistants and nurses. The number of teachers picketing hit a 7-year high, according to BLS data.

The big picture: State and local governments cut education budgets during the recession, which forced many educators to take part-time jobs, organize walkouts for better conditions or leave the field altogether, the EPI report shows.

  • Last year, teachers quit at the fastest rate ever recorded due to unsatisfactory wages, leaving school districts to cope with surging student enrollment.

Why it matters: The lack of teachers is stunting student learning, as growing class sizes are becoming unmanageable learning environments, and teacher aides are in short supply. Meanwhile, educators are strapped for time and resources to create more individualized lesson plans and volunteer for extracurricular activities.

What to watch: Several 2020 Democratic candidates have announced support for raising teachers' wages and better classroom resources.

  • Sens. Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders want to give teachers a base pay increase.
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden offered up a plan to compensate teachers for extra work completed outside the classroom, such as mentoring or coaching. He also wants to double the number of school psychologists, guidance counselors, nurses, social workers and other health care professionals.
  • Separately, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) introduced legislation that would put $603 million into teacher salaries to boost the minimum pay to $47,500, the Tampa Bay Times reports. If approved, Florida's teacher pay will be one of the highest in the U.S., the governor's office said.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

U.S. drone strike victims' families in Afghanistan seek compensation

A relative of Ezmarai Ahmadi, who was killed by a U.S. drone strike, looks at the wreckage of a vehicle that was damaged in the strike in the Kwaja Burga neighbourhood of Kabul on Saturday. Photo: Hoshang Hashimi AFP via Getty Images

Relatives of 10 Afghans killed by a U.S. drone strike in Kabul last month said Saturday they want to see punishment and compensation over the deaths.

Driving the news: The relatives said it's "good news" that the U.S. had "officially admitted" that "they had attacked innocents" in the Aug. 29 strike that killed Zamarai Ahmadi, an aid worker with a U.S.-based group, and nine family members, but they still need "justice," per AFP.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
6 hours ago - Science

All-civilian Inspiration4 is back on Earth after flight to space

A side-by-side of the Inspiration4 crew and a shot of their capsule on the way back to Earth. Photo: SpaceX

The all-civilian Inspiration4 crew is back on Earth after their three-day mission in orbit.

The big picture: The launch and landing of this fully amateur, private space crew marks a changing of the guard from spaceflight being a largely government-led venture to being under the purview of private companies.

28 U.S. citizens depart Afghanistan on Qatar Airways flight

Passengers board a Qatar Airways aircraft bound to Qatar at the airport in Kabul on September 10, 2021. Photo: Aamir Qureshi/AFP via Getty Images

The State Department on Saturday confirmed that a Qatar Airways charter flight left Kabul on Friday with 28 U.S. citizens and seven lawful permanent residents on board.

The big picture: Friday's flight is the third such airlift by Qatar Airways since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, AP reports.