Abbott Elementary highlights issues in the education system


Blass Guerrero

Many Texas schools face the lack of resources highlighted on Abbott Elementary like underfunding and teacher salaries.

ABC’s Abbott Elementary season two premiered Sept. 21. The show’s mockumentary showcases the daily issues many teachers in the country face. Season one highlighted issues like underfunding, teachers having to purchase supplies with their own money and the lack of resources to provide students with proper education.

In season one, Janine Teagues, played by Quinta Brunson, in the first episode, Janine requests new rugs for her class to principal Ava Coleman, played by Janelle James. Instead of using the money for supplies, Principal Coleman purchases a new sign with her picture. So the teachers had to find another solution.

The show highlights issues that are happening nationwide. For example, in Texas, some school districts have switched to a four-day week to help with the teacher shortage.

For the first episode of season two, the teachers of Abbott Elementary are starting development week. Brunson’s character is trying to make the best of it as she’s trying to move on from her breakup with her boyfriend and having issues paying her rent on her own. This brings the issue of teacher salaries, and the lack of living wage.

According to the National Education Association, the average annual starting pay in Texas is between $44,527 and $57,641. Most teachers use their salaries for supplies in their classrooms to ensure they have resources. I have seen teachers take second jobs to make a livable wage. A few of them work at Walmart, working as managers making almost the same or more than teachers without a college degree.

Seth Goshorn went viral on TikTok for revealing after teaching for six years, making $43,000. Goshorn quit to work at Walmart, earning $55,000 annually as a Stocking 2 Coach. He explained to Fox affiliate in Ohio that even though he loved teaching, he was not making enough for his upcoming wedding and planning a family.

While some districts have switched to a four-day week, some have made teachers teach multiple grades in overcrowded classrooms. In the show, Principal Coleman lets second-grade teacher Melissa Shemmenti, played by Lisa Ann Walter, know that for the new school year, she will teach second and third-grade students simultaneously in one classroom due to a teacher shortage.

The show showcases other issues like school districts giving teachers course materials they need to teach for the year but not having enough time. New first-grade teacher Gregory Eddie, played by Tyler James Williams, is trying to find a way to schedule the whole year to teach the curriculum to his students to the last second. Barbara Howard, played by Sheryl Lee Ralph, is a veteran first-grade teacher. Howard knows what to do and tells Eddie that teachers can’t do everything no matter what the state or school district says. All they can do is try and be there for their students.

Abbott Elementary season one has a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and season two has a 100% rating. This show perfectly combined both comedy and raised the issues that are going on in public schools in the United States. I hope to see other shows include issues like the education system as the main topic, so viewers can understand and see the different perspectives.