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Housing prices continue to climb but teacher pay is relatively stagnant. As a result, more cities are offering discounted housing as a way to attract teachers.

Earlier this week Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced a 50% discount on homes purchased through Land Bank auction. The idea is to attract more educators to live in the city rather than commute in or work in neighboring districts.

Detroit is not the first to entice teachers with discounted or free housing. Back in  May, the city government of San Francisco said they would pony up $44 million to build 130 to 150 rental units of teacher housing.

Meanwhile, Newark, NJ recently built a teachers village, which includes 204 units marketed to teachers at a discounted rate. And over a decade ago, right after Hurricane Katrina, the City of New Orleans offered Modular Housing to attract educators while the city rebuilt.

230 halsey street newark nj 1
Newark’s Teacher Village/Courtesy:

While all these efforts are helpful and well intentioned, does discounted housing really address the issue of underpaid educators?

A study published by the Economic Policy Institute and highlighted by the Washington Post says that in 2015, the weekly wages of public school teachers in the United States were 17 percent lower than comparable college-educated professionals.

Courtesy: Detroit Land Bank Authority
House for sale on Detroit’s Land Based Auction Site/Courtesy: Detroit Land Bank Authority

In fact, the study found that average weekly wages of public sector teachers decreased $30 per week from 1996-2015 (inflation adjusted). In contrast, weekly wages rose $124 for all graduates over the same period.

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