WASHINGTON (7News) — DC Teachers' Union President Jacqueline Pogue Lyons says the school system loses between 1/4 and 1/3 of teachers every year.
She tells me a recent union survey shows most DC teachers are not happy with their jobs.
"Everyone says they love the teachers, they appreciate their work, but when it comes time to show it, they feel like it's just words and not actions," she said.
Among the survey findings: most DCPS teachers are not satisfied with current conditions.
More than half believe DCPS has not treated teachers with respect, negotiated honestly, or made fair contract offers.
"The Washington Teachers' Union has not had an updated contract in more than three years," said former DCPS Instructional Assistant Patricia Stamper.
The mother-of-two left the school system in August of 2021.
She says the pay was low and the work was demanding.
"It's your planning period and you have a free period; they want you to go and support another classroom that doesn't have a teacher," she told me.
On Tuesday, the DC City Council addressed teacher retention during an online hearing.
"I feel unsafe and unsupported and for these reasons, I weigh my options for other employment on a fairly consistent basis," speaker Monica Austin shared.
Pogue Lyons says DCPS has taken months to respond to the union's attempts to negotiate a new contract.
I asked her why it's taking so long.
"On the part of DCPS, I don't think they think there's any urgency in getting this done," she told me.
In a statement DCPS tells 7News, "DC Public Schools greatly values the contributions of all our teachers. We continue to negotiate in good faith to reach an agreement. We are proud of the offer we have made to the Washington Teachers Union that includes robust compensation increases for educators."
The school system also says it currently has 4,543 teachers.
DCPS teachers who started this school year total 403.
There are 149 teacher vacancies.
The DC Teachers' Union has planned a March for a Fair Contract rally at the Anacostia Metro on Thursday October 27 at 7 a.m. and expects more than a hundred educators and community members to attend.
Here's a look at the entire DCPS statement sent to 7News:
DC Public Schools’ core strategy for ensuring the best education for our students begins and ends with the recruitment, selection, development, and retention of the most talented educators in the country.
We're also proud to be one of the highest paying school districts in the country.
Our country is facing a nationwide teacher shortage, and as an urban school district, we are certainly impacted by this.
We launched multiple new initiatives to continue to recruit exceptionally strong educators and staff, such that we saw an increase in our candidate pool.
DC Public Schools greatly values the contributions of all our teachers. We continue to negotiate in good faith to reach an agreement.
We are proud of the offer we have made to the Washington Teachers Union that includes robust compensation increases for educators.
We will continue to work diligently toward providing stability for our educators with a finalized contract.