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School districts throughout Indianapolis are struggling to retain Black educators due to low compensation. Still, one non-profit organization is doing the work to protect the financial well-being of those in need.

In 2023, The Educate Me Foundation unveiled its Teacherville program offering support to Black educators by covering down payment and closing costs for home purchases. According to the foundation’s website, the initiative creates opportunities for Black teachers to overcome financial hurdles and achieve the milestone of homeownership while diversifying the workforce.

During an interview with WRTV, Educate Me CEO, Blake Nathan, revealed that Black teachers in Indianapolis have been exiting the public school system due to low wages and their inability to make ends meet. 

“The biggest reason teachers are leaving the classroom outside of culture is teacher pay. We can’t dictate what a teacher makes in a school district or charter school network, but we can try and lower the cost of living for an educator,” Nathan said. 

To combat the issue, the foundation has built an affordable housing community, dubbed Teacherville, for educators in the Martindale-Brightwood area of the city. The historic neighborhood — which is located near the northeast side of Indianapolis — will be filled with fair-priced townhomes for teachers looking to purchase their first primary residence. Nathan hopes the program will bring Black teachers one step closer to home ownership and re-ignite their passion for education. 

“Two to three years down the line, we can talk to educators who bought their first home and see if they’re still in the field of education,” The Educate Me CEO added of the Teacherville homeownership initiative.


Indianapolis’ mass teacher exit mirrors what is currently happening across the country.

There are 500,000 fewer educators in the American public school systems post-pandemic in the U.S., according to a study conducted by Devlin Peck. Burnout and poor compensation are pushing teachers to leave the education workforce. Some are finding it hard to meet school demands due to staff shortages, heavy workloads, and lack of school funding for supplies and materials.

Black teachers are being hit hard by the burnout epidemic. A 2021 survey by Rand found that Black teachers “were statistically significantly more likely to report working more than 60 hours per week.” Around 27% of Black teachers did so, compared to 14% of white teachers.

The pay gap is a concern for others. In 2022, the pay gap between teachers and college graduates in other fields reached a historic high of 26.4%, marking a substantial increase from the 6.1% disparity observed in 1996, the Economic Policy Institute noted. While teachers typically enjoy more comprehensive benefits compared to professionals in other sectors, this advantage fails to counterbalance the growing wage discrepancy faced by educators sufficiently. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary of a teacher in the U.S. is just over $61,000.


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