Spotlight on low wages many teachers in America
A new report spotlighted low wages many teachers in US and the financial struggles many of them are facing.
There are three magazine covers, each with a different teacher and a different quote, including, "I have 20 years of experience, but I can't afford to fix my car, see a doctor for headaches, or save for my child's future. I'm a teacher in America."
The cover also reads "I have a master's degree, 16 years of experience, work two extra jobs and donate blood plasma to pay the bills."
According to this report, US roughly 3.2 million full-time public-school teachers (kindergarten through high school) are experiencing some of the worst wage stagnation of any profession, earning less on average, in inflation-adjusted dollars, than they did in 1990, according to Department of Education (DOE) data.
Meanwhile, the pay gap between teachers and other comparably educated professionals is now the largest on record. In 1994, public-school teachers in the U.S. earned 1.8% less per week than comparable workers, according to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a left-leaning think tank. By last year, they made 18.7% less. The situation is particularly grim in states such as Oklahoma, where teachers’ inflation-adjusted salaries actually decreased by about $8,000 in the last decade, to an average of $45,245 in 2016, according to DOE data. In Arizona, teachers’ average inflation-adjusted annual wages are down $5,000.
American teachers have staged walkouts and marches on six state capitols this year. From Arizona to Oklahoma, in states blue, red and purple, teachers have risen up to demand increases in salaries, benefits and funding for public education.
Striking teachers contend the administration’s approach siphons funding from resource-starved schools and impedes their efforts to secure better pay and benefits.
Teachers also complain they have to use personal funds to buy supplies for public school students, further diminishing their salaries.