Why should we pay teachers more?
Too many teachers cannot afford the basics in life. We are priced out of new cars and owning our own home. All too many work second jobs (20%), coach, tutor, or take on additional duties for more pay after school (59%), and yet we (94%) still spend a startling amount on our classrooms each year .
The Teacher Salary Project shares some startling facts:
According to Business Insider, the U.S. is ranked 7th in the world for teacher pay. In a country where we are always striving to be #1 in everything, why are we accepting 7th place for this?
Doing a simple search and you will find information galore on how we are not paying enough.
Sharing the Burden
There is a problem. Districts don't have enough money for the basics. Buildings go unrepaired. Curriculum is outdated. Student supplies are limited. The needs go on and on. How can we fix this without paying teachers more? It is time to get creative!
The 20% Educator Discount
I think it is time for the country to share the burden of supporting our teachers. Imagine with me if every teacher got a 20% discount where-ever they went. 20% off your rent. 20% off your mortgage. 20% off your utilities. 20% off your groceries. 20% off your insurance. 20% off your vacation in the US. 20% off your new car. 20% off furniture and clothing. 20% off of every purchase made. 20% off of sale and clearance items. It is a given, any where a teacher is, we thank them by giving them 20% off.
Once a teacher, always a teacher. This includes retired teachers. They continue to get this discount long after they have retired. This is society's way of saying we value and support educators.
Federal Educator Benefits
We give our military benefits for life after serving as a thank you for their dedication and service. We need to start doing this for our teachers as well. Set up a department for teachers in the department of education similar to that of the VA.
Give educators access to loans at a better rate (and don't forget our discount!).
Take the burden of health care off of districts so they can use the money elsewhere. Give us our own system of health care. Stop charging us deductibles and co-pays.
Tax Exemption Status
Yes. We get a tax credit. HOWEVER! You have to 1) make enough money to itemize your deductions, 2) have enough deductions to actually claim them and then 3) it is only $250. The average teacher spends $500 a year in the classroom. That means we get half of it back.
A note about classroom spending. This lumps in elementary teachers (who spend a ton) with high school teachers (who spend a little). I know most elementary teachers spend at least $1000 a year on our classrooms if not more. We buy everything! Decorations, shelving, books for our class library, cleaning supplies, party supplies, snacks, school supplies not provided by the parents, and the list goes on and on.
No more taxes. No sales tax. No income tax. I am willing to negotiate on property taxes only because that is where schools get their money from. Stop taxing me.
Student Loan Forgiveness
After 8 years of teaching, I want all of my student loans to go away and I want you to start paying for the professional development, on-going education credits that I am required to take in order to maintain my licensure.
Yes, I know you have a loan forgiveness program of up to $10,000 if you make payments for 10 years but lets be honest. How many teachers actually qualify for this? Very little. There are all of these little tricks you have up your sleeve to make sure you we never get rid of our loans. These loans are hurting us.
Example. I paid my student loans for 9 years. I was told that I needed to consolidate to lower my payments as they were out of control. I was told that I would still be able to apply for and receive the forgiveness of $10,000 the next year. WRONG! I had to start over. Now 5 years in I found out, I will never qualify as I consolidated my loans.
Put money back into my pocket, forgive the entire loan.
How would you fix teacher pay?
Hi! My name is Misty. I am a 6th Grade ELA Teacher, Mama of 5, and author of The Path to Passionate Teaching.