It’s well known that housing costs in booming Bay Area cities are out of range of most public school teachers, who earn middle class salaries. And yet all of these cities have public schools. Gotta put those teachers somewhere. The most popular current out-of-the-box solution for this issue seems to be: build designated affordable housing for teachers. USA Today reports that San Francisco, Cupertino (where Apple is headquartered), Palo Alto, and Santa Clara are all building or considering building teacher-specific housing—although not enough to meet the need of all the teachers. In Mountain View, where Google is headquartered, the school district is also considering various ways it could build housing for teachers. The district has the land, but Superintendent Ayinde Rudolph tells the local paper that there is another barrier to the project: “’We have a lot of land in our district that is available for us to use, but some of the most ideal spots that we have are actually not in places (zoned for) high density,’ Rudolph said. ‘The residents that live there would probably put up a fight against putting up high-density property.’”
Yes: The residents of this rich town with a six-figure median income and a housing crunch so acute that the people who teach its children cannot afford to live there might object to the construction of an apartment building to house those teachers because it is too “high-density.” This is dumb.
The real issue here, besides selfish rich people, is that teachers are but a symptom of the problem. Would it be nice to build designated affordable housing for teachers? Sure. And when you’re done with that, please build affordable housing for the firefighters, cops, sanitation workers, retail employees, restaurant workers, janitors, social workers, nurses, carpenters, roofers, and all of the other lower-or-middle-class people who are necessary to keep your city running but do not make enough money to live there.
We need affordable housing for teachers. But more to the point, we need affordable housing for everyone who can’t afford housing. One way to do this is to raise everyone’s wages. Another way to do this is to build more fucking housing. Better yet, do both.
And don’t complain about it, unless you want to teach everyone’s kids yourself.