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Do You Support a Federal Investment to Raise Teachers’ Salaries?

Do you support raising teachers' wages?

by Countable | 3.25.19

What’s the story?

  • Presidential hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) is calling for the federal government to invest in improving teachers' salaries nationwide.
  • "I'm declaring to you that by the end of my first term, we will have improved teachers' salaries so that we close the pay gap," Harris told a group of supporters in Houston on Saturday.
"Because right now, teachers are making over 10% less than other college educated graduates and that gap is about $13,000 a year, and I am pledging to you that through the federal resources that are available, we will close that gap."

What are the numbers?

  • Teachers’ salaries have shrunk 1.6 percent nationwide between 2000 and 2017, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics.
  • In Arizona and North Carolina, which both saw teachers’ strikes, salaries are down more than 17 percent.
  • A study by the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute found that public school teachers in 2017 made 11 percent less than similar professionals with college degrees.

Critics of increasing teacher pay

Conservative think-tank the American Enterprise Institute argues we shouldn’t raise teacher pay, but reform it.

“Compensation is inefficient, not low,” wrote Andrew Biggs and Jason Richwine in a June 2018 article.

Their suggestions?

  • “First, address any teacher shortages through targeted pay increases, not an across-the-board raise.”
  • “Second, schools should offer new teachers a cost-neutral deal: a higher salary in exchange for a more modest retirement plan.”
  • “Third, schools wanting payroll flexibility for teachers should reduce administrative overhead.”

What do you think?

Do you support a federal investment in raising teachers’ wages? Take action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.

—Josh Herman

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / skynesher)

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