Teacher's Salaries

Many Americans assume that school teachers are to blame for their children’s poor education. Most parents fail to realize that in order to have teachers who are willing to put time and effort into their jobs, they will need to be compensated.

Especially in today’s world, where the cost of living is higher than ever. More and more teachers are leaving the teaching industry because their salary does not meet their needs. If anyone should know this, shouldn’t it be parents? They know the cost of living. They have to pay bills and taxes. They would know that none of that is cheap, but being able to pay for all of that is necessary for getting by in this world. Teachers should be paid more, and this will cause less teachers to leave the teaching industry, leading to a more successful education for children.

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Jason Richwine, a public policy analyst in Washington D.C. argues that teachers already earn too much. According to Richwine, “Combine decent wages with a generous benefits package—guaranteed pensions, retiree health care, and job security—and teacher compensation is, on average, above market levels” (Richwine 1). All of the benefits that come from teaching, such as guaranteed pensions, retiree health care, and job security could make up for the smaller amount of compensation they are receiving. At the same time that I believe that all of these benefits are extremely helpful to teachers, I also believe that having a salary that you know will be able to support you through life is just as important.

While this is what the media will tell you about what teacher receive at their job, this is not true for a majority of teachers. Based on a primary source that I spoke to, all of these “benefits” are not actually true. Most private/charter schools do not get the same benefits as almost all public schools do. Including here at Foothills Academy College Preparatory. Based on the limited funds that these small schools have, most cannot spend more money to give more to their teaching staff.

This is where taxes come in. Parents of schoolchildren (usually Republicans) are not the biggest fans of taxes. Taxes are what pays our teachers and allows them to stay in their teaching profession and provide students with everything they need to learn. Unfortunately, one will find that it is mostly Republicans who are not happy with the way the school is teaching or their children’s intelligence level. Mark Williams, a local from Phoenix, Arizona, who is passionate about this subject, states that “Taxes are not bad if they go to what we want to buy. Our mindset needs to change” (Williams 1).

Not only should teachers receive more to help them pay for their personal lives, but it would allow them to buy more materials for the classroom to help better the learning of their many students. According to a study done by the University of Washington in 2003, “half of new leave after five years” (Fensterwald 1). There is an easy solution to this. Simply pay teachers more. Arizona teachers make anywhere between $40,000-$55,000 a year.

The average cost of living in Arizona can be well over $70,000 a year. It is quite clear that the average teacher will struggle to afford to live. The cost of living does not only include paying taxes and bills, but everyday necessities, such as food, gas for their cars, and clothing. Teachers choose to go into this industry because they are passionate about teaching and want to prepare the youth and give them all the education they can get. Teacher work extremely long and hard hours not only during the school week, but in order to get the credentials to become a teacher.

A teaching degree website reminds us that “Becoming a teacher in Arizona is not often done for financial gain, especially due to the significant certification and teaching requirements in Arizona” (Teaching Degree 1). Teachers devote a lot of time to what they do best. A survey done by the Phi Delta Kappa shows that over 70% of the 1,002 participants have trust and confidence in their children’s teachers and would be willing to raise taxes to provide teachers with better compensation. Anyone familiar with with how much a teacher gets paid should agree that it is far too little for a teacher to live comfortably. This is why we all have to come to our realizations that a little bit of extra taxes aimed towards the teaching industry would not be a bad thing.

It will greatly improve the education system for children, and prevent highly qualified teachers from leaving the teaching industry.