While not really surprising, it was still a reality check to learn a week ago that teachers are leaving Hawaii at an astounding rate- up 84% in the past eight years. It simply costs too much for too many to consider staying or even coming here, and there are fewer people who see teaching as a career path for themselves when they attend college, perhaps in part because of the realities of the costs of living local.
And please, no more talk about $750,000 affordable condos or homes- for sale or for rent- that's simply not a reality for far too many people trying to make ends meet and have enough saved up to live out their golden years in Hawaii, and that includes teachers. We talk about our keiki and the need to improve the test scores and value of an education here. Well, that goal gets tougher if we don't have enough qualified people to adequately teach with reasonable class sizes and long-term plans to stay here.
We've discussed concerns about a possible local brain drain as kids opt not to return home due to salary disparity and the cost of living here, and it appears that the future locally might not be too rosy for people who've earned higher degrees- not only doctors, but also teachers. And one can safely assume that other professions requiring higher education are feeling the sting of housing costs, salary realities, and other concerns far beyond traffic and the cost of a gallon of milk. The price one pays for living in paradise, the "paradise tax", may affect what paradise looks like in the coming decades; some solutions are needed soon. Think about it.