Education sector workers are under intense pressure, with wages stagnant and workers facing job insecurity, the union representing teachers said Monday.
The International Association of School and College Leaders (ISA), which represents about 200,000 teachers and staff, released a report that urged lawmakers to expand their efforts to educate students, workers and educators.
“We must all work together to build the economy, not divide it,” said the report, called “Education and Labor: The Future of American Jobs.”
“The nation’s educators have suffered a series of devastating crises over the last five years,” it said.
“In 2018, nearly half of teachers’ jobs were lost, and the national economy is still recovering from the devastating recession.
And we must not let this crisis impact our futures as a nation.”
While the unemployment rate for the education industry has remained stubbornly high at 6.1%, the number of teachers has decreased by nearly 9% in the last four years.
The number of employed teachers has also dropped by nearly 8%.
The report said there are still about 40,000 Americans with postsecondary education, and that many of those who want to remain in the sector will be forced to take a pay cut.
It said the job security of teachers is threatened by a lack of training and the growing number of students who are entering college at a lower rate than they were when they entered the workforce.
It also noted that teachers and other workers in the education workforce are not being paid enough to make ends meet.
“The teachers union has identified that our most pressing needs are a lack in wages and the lack of paid sick leave,” the report said.
The report comes amid a push by Republicans to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, known as Obamacare.
Republican lawmakers have pushed to eliminate or modify many of the protections that come with Obamacare, including requiring Americans to have health insurance or pay a penalty for not having one.
The union report comes as House Republicans are seeking to dismantle a key part of the Affordable Care Act by making a $1.9 trillion spending cut to the Medicaid program, a major driver of the U.S. health care system.
The president on Monday released a list of 26 proposed changes to the law that would cut off federal funding to states that don’t expand Medicaid coverage.
The Trump administration has made it clear that it would not back down from the threat of repealing Obamacare.
Trump has said the law was a disaster, but he has not specified how he would address its shortcomings.
The Labor Department said Monday that job growth in the educational sector increased by just 1.1% last year, compared with an increase of 2.3% for the entire economy.
It also said the education and training sector added just 0.3 jobs in September, the lowest rate since the start of the year.