ATLANTA (WSAV) — The Georgia Association of Educators says a new report outlines the growing list of concerns teachers have in Georgia.

A recent poll that surveyed 5,000 Georgia teachers says that 3 out of 10 teachers would leave the profession in the next five years because of teacher burnout.

“We have known about teacher shortages for years especially special education, math and science for years,” said Lisa Morgan, President of Georgia Association of Educators.

Some Georgia teachers say low pay, limited freedom in curriculum and lucrative opportunities in nearby states are key factors for leaving the profession

“Part of that is because obviously of the pandemic, it is also what has been happening over the lack of respect,” Morgan said. “That’s adding to the shortage here in Georgia.”

The Georgia DOE is working with state lawmakers to make sure teachers are well supported including a $5,000 teacher pay raise as well as reducing the state-mandated tests but said more work needs to be done.

“States are robbing other states of teachers and Georgia is not exempt from that,” said Raymond Pierce, President of Southern Education Foundation.

“One of the things lawmakers can do is look beyond just pay. Beginning teachers in Georgia make $39,092 – which is less than Tennessee, Alaska, Florida, Mississippi,” Morgan said.

The Georgia Association of Educators said the mental health toll of the pandemic is also driving teachers out. State lawmakers will reconvene at the Georgia State Capitol for the 2023 legislative in January, with education and healthcare forming the bulk of the budget.

Gov. Brian Kemp released his K-12 policy this week including what he would do to help Georgia teachers if he’s re-elected:

“Throughout my first term, we have made historic strides when it comes to education in Georgia. We passed the largest teacher pay raise in state history, a Teacher Pipeline legislative package focused on getting more qualified educators into the workforce, reduced high-stakes testing, and have used Governor’s Emergency Education Relief funds to ensure teachers and schools have the resources to create a safe and successful learning environment. If I am honored to continue serving, I’ll continue to champion policies to support Georgia’s educators as they partner with us to build a safer, stronger Georgia.”