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

Ina Fried, author of Login
18 mins ago - Technology

Amazon wants to flood America with Alexa cameras and microphones

Photo: Amazon

In a Thursday event unveiling a slew of new home devices ahead of the holidays, Amazon made clearer than ever its determination to flood America with cameras, microphones and the voice of Alexa, its AI assistant.

The big picture: Updating popular products and expanding its range to car alarms and in-home drones, Amazon extended its lead in smart home devices and moved into new areas including cloud gaming and car security. The new offerings will also fuel criticism that the tech giant is helping equip a society built around surveillance.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
1 hour ago - Energy & Environment

Oil's turbulent long-term future

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The oil sector is facing risks from all sides.

Why it matters: Risk in the industry is nothing new. But these are especially turbulent and uncertain times. The industry's market clout has waned, the future of demand is kind of a mystery, and future U.S. policy is too, just to name three.

Meadows on Wray's voter fraud dismissal: "He has a hard time finding emails in his own FBI"

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows dismissed FBI Director Chris Wray's testimony that the U.S. has never historically seen evidence of widespread voter fraud, including by mail, during an appearance on "CBS This Morning" on Friday.

Why it matters: Meadows' statement highlights the Trump administration's strategy to sow doubt in November's election results by challenging the legitimacy of mail-in ballots, which are expected to skew heavily in Democrats' favor.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!