It’s safe to say that we owe our education to our teachers. They teach us from the day we start kindergarten to the day we graduate from high school. Most people would never last seven hours a day, five days a week in a room with 30 teenagers. At least, not without being paid well.
In 2018, teachers across the country have staged walk-outs to argue for better pay.
The first of these began in late February in West Virginia, when about 20,000 teachers and other faculty members across all 55 counties went on strikes. This led schools to be shut down for nine days. All of the signs and the striking around the capitol building paid off, no pun intended.
Teachers and other public employees were gifted with a five percent pay raise.
A few months later, other states, such as Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arizona, Colorado and North Carolina, followed the trend and took action for higher pay. Many of these were successful as well, earning school funding and political promises across the board.
These arguments for better pay are reasonable, because when you look at the amount that teachers are paid compared to people like celebrities and professional athletes, the difference is astounding.
In many states, teachers can earn anywhere from 60 to 80 cents on the dollar compared to other college graduates.
In addition to the low pay comparison, many teachers run out of the amount of funding they receive for classroom essentials, resulting in having to pay out of pocket for paper and other supplies.
Of course, the answer is not as simple as some may think. Teachers are paid through taxes, so to raise their pay would mean raising taxes for everyone else.
West Virginia teacher Emily Comer made this statement regarding taxes and the education system:
“Basically, they’re kicking the can down the road. We’re engaged in an ongoing fight to raise taxes on corporations and extractive industries; we don’t want to see cuts to essential services and we don’t want to see regressive taxes like a soda tax or a cigarette tax. We don’t want our raises funded on the backs of poor people.”
These teachers have started something that will hopefully lead to a more reasonable salary in the future.