Senator Bernie Sanders and several governors nationwide are pushing for pay raises for teachers to attract and retain educators as many schools struggle to fill vacancies.
Both Republican and Democratic governors in around twelve states put forward the proposal that would pay raises for teachers, but the details of these proposals differ.
The Education Commission of the States (via ChalkBeat), which monitors education policies nationwide, reported that many governors addressed the matter during their State of the State speeches this year.
Bernie Sanders Wants Pay Raises For Teachers
Senator Bernie Sanders, who chairs the Senate’s health, education, labor, and pensions committee, has announced his intention to introduce a bill that would ensure pay raises for teachers where educators earn at least $60,000 per year.
The proposed legislation, called the Pay Teachers Act, will complement similar efforts in the House, reflecting a growing discussion about low teacher salaries.
At a town hall event hosted by Sanders on Monday evening, he and the two national teachers’ union presidents spoke out against what they called a “teacher pay crisis,” which they believe is a major cause of staffing shortages in schools throughout the US.
“I want the day to come, sooner than later, when we are going to attract the best and brightest young people in our country into teaching,” Sanders said per WCCO report.
“I want those young people to be proud of the profession they have chosen,” he added.
In addition to creating the compensation floor, Sanders said that his measure that would pay raises for teachers would triple the Title I funding for low-income schools and raise veteran educators’ pay after they’ve been in the profession for 10, 20, or 30 years.
The proposal’s language has not yet been made public because the bill has not yet been filed.
How Much Do Teachers Receive?
In an interview with Fox Business, former teacher Maggie Perkins had to adopt “quiet quitting” to make her job more manageable. Eventually, she decided to leave teaching altogether and found a new job at Costco, which she enjoys, while she expected pay raises for teachers.
In a TikTok caption, Perkins stated that her current work pace is much more manageable and less demanding than it was when she was a teacher. She mentioned that she no longer feels sick or exhausted like she did before.
Business Insider said Perkins’ experience is not unusual, as the United States is currently facing an unprecedented and persistent teacher shortage, with many teachers leaving the profession due to burnout and low pay.
EdWeek said the average base salary for public school teachers in the US was $61,600, with a starting salary of less than $42,000 in the 2020-21 school year.
However, teacher salaries vary greatly from state to state and even from city to city. For example, teachers in New York made an average of $90,222, while those in Mississippi made an average of $46,862.
Many teachers supplement their income through extracurricular activities or performance bonuses, and about 17% of them work outside the school system during the school year.
On average, teachers earn 76.5 cents for every dollar earned by other college graduates in other professions, which is known as the “teacher pay penalty.”
This pay gap has increased over the past 20 years, according to the nonpartisan think tank Economic Policy Institute, which is partially supported by teachers’ unions.