Teaching is a highly respected profession worldwide, as most individuals have had to pass through the instructions of a teacher to get to where they are now.
Despite the critical role that teachers play in society, they are notoriously underpaid, with many struggling to make ends meet. This article will discuss why teachers should be paid more, but before we delve into that, let’s first examine why teachers are underpaid in the first place.
Why Teachers Are UnderpaidIt’s no secret that teachers are not the highest-paid professionals out there. In fact, teachers earn 23.5% less than their peers in other professions with similar education and experience. There are several reasons behind this, including:
- Historical Underpayment: Public school teachers have been underpaid since public education started in the United States in the late 1800s. Women began to be recruited for these jobs, and they were paid less than men. This wage gap has persisted for all teachers, and women still make up the majority of teachers today
- Lack of Funding: Many schools and districts do not have enough funding to pay teachers what they deserve. This lack of funding can be due to a variety of factors, including budget cuts, low tax revenue, and competing priorities.
- Low Status: Teaching is often not seen as a prestigious profession, which can lead to lower pay. In some countries, such as Finland and Korea, teachers are highly respected and paid accordingly. However, in other countries, including the United States, teaching is not always seen as a desirable career path.
- High Turnover: Low pay can lead to high turnover rates among teachers, which can be detrimental to students’ education. When teachers leave, students may not receive the continuity and support they need to succeed.
- Average Salary of a Public School Teacher
Teachers’ salaries vary according to their state of residence, amount of education, and experience. According to the National Education Association (NEA), the average teacher pay for the 2021-2022 school year is expected to be $66,397.When adjusted for inflation, teachers are predicted to earn $2,179 less per year than they did a decade ago.
While this is the national average, teachers in New York, California, and Massachusetts are among the highest paid, while Mississippi and South Dakota are among the lowest.
- Inadequate Public Perception
While teaching is an important profession in every community, it is widely regarded as a low-status occupation. It is seen as a fallback job for persons who were unable to enter the professions they want or for people who simply enjoy working with children more than money.
The public also does not believe that teachers work hard because they have so many long vacations. When compared to other professions who work all year, it’s easy for them to dismiss teaching as a simple profession.
- Dependence on Local Funding
Many states in the United States pay teachers and public education in general through state income taxes and property taxes.
Unfortunately, this can result in significant financial disparities between rich and low-income areas, which can have an impact on teacher wages.
- Inadequate Union Representation
While some may argue that teachers’ unions harm pupils, stronger unions help instructors secure more pay and better working conditions.
Unfortunately, teachers in areas with weak unions are unable to bargain for increased pay and better working conditions.
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Why Teachers Should Be Paid More
Now that we’ve examined why teachers are underpaid, let’s take a look at why they should be paid more:
- Attracting and Retaining Quality Teachers: Higher pay can attract more qualified individuals to the teaching profession and help retain experienced teachers. This can lead to better educational outcomes for students.
- Reducing Teacher Stress: Many teachers work multiple jobs to make ends meet, which can lead to stress and burnout. Higher pay can reduce financial stress and allow teachers to focus more on their students.
- Improving Student Outcomes: Research has shown that higher teacher pay is associated with better student outcomes, including higher test scores and graduation rates
- Recognizing the Value of Teachers: Teachers play a critical role in shaping the future of society. Higher pay can help recognize the value of their work and the impact they have on students’ lives.
- Lower Turnover and Burnout
Teachers spend the majority of their time working on campus, and sometimes even when they are not working. They bring scripts home to grade and conduct research to construct lessons that are easy to understand. Some instructors take on second occupations to supplement their income, while others simply abandon the field to pursue higher-paying opportunities.
The greatest strategy to reduce burnout from side employment and teacher turnover is to give instructors with the financial security they require to remain in the profession.
- Professional Advancement
Teachers are more inclined to improve if the financial rewards are worthwhile. Consider paying money to better your academic standing only to earn a negligible raise in pay. While professional development might help kids, teachers are less likely to participate in such activities if the returns are not appealing.
Knowing that they would receive a significant raise in compensation for developing themselves academically would drive instructors to engage in such academic activities, which would help pupils in the long run.
- Recruit Male Teachers
Teaching has become a largely female profession, with only 24% of teachers being male.