Thousands of female teachers in the US are exploring an unusual way of supplementing their income: finding a "sugar daddy" online. According to a US-based dating website dedicated to connecting wealthy older men with younger women, approximately 40,000 teachers are looking for a sugar daddy to help them pay the bills.
SeekingArrangement.com describes itself as the number one website in the world for what it calls "mutually beneficial relationships between generous men and sugar babies". It matches men offering a predetermined monthly allowance with "attractive, intelligent, ambitious and goal-oriented" younger women. The site also has thousands of members in the UK.
SeekingArrangement.com's founder Brandon Wade said the number of teachers signing up rose dramatically just as the profession was hit by a dip in salary. Teachers typically ask for around $3,000 a month in financial assistance, he added.
"Teachers are placed under enormous pressures to mould the young minds of tomorrow, but are expected to do so with less wages than their peers and by working longer hours," he said in a statement. "Then those same teachers are forced to work in underfunded schools. You can't expect a teacher to accept less pay for more work than their peers and then reach into their pockets to fund your child's classroom."
In the US, the national average salary for a new teacher is $30,377 (#163;19,538). And according to the National Education Association teaching union, the average wage of workers with at least four years of college education is around 50 per cent higher than that of teachers.
Research released by the National School Supply and Equipment Association in July estimated that teachers in the US had spent $1.6 billion of their own money on teaching supplies in 2012-13, adding credence to Mr Wade's claims that young teachers are seeking older suitors in order to make ends meet.
The site named the five school districts with the most "sugar babies" listed as members: Philadelphia came top. It is perhaps no coincidence that Philadelphia's education officials are currently negotiating with teaching unions to implement significant cuts to teachers' salaries, in order to save $103 million.