Online News Day or Knight - Official news site of North Penn High School - 1340 Valley Forge Rd. Lansdale, PA

The Knight Crier

Online News Day or Knight - Official news site of North Penn High School - 1340 Valley Forge Rd. Lansdale, PA

The Knight Crier

Online News Day or Knight - Official news site of North Penn High School - 1340 Valley Forge Rd. Lansdale, PA

The Knight Crier

OPINION: Teachers are essential; time for salary to reflect that

TEACHERS WALLETS ARE EMPTY. An abundance of knowledge, yet, pinching their pennies. Considering their value, teachers in America today are not compensated adequately for their efforts and impact.

Opinions expressed in the Op/Ed section of The Knight Crier are not necessarily reflective of the views of the entire staff of the KC.

The armed forces, doctors, lawmakers, and teachers are the most impactful jobs in America today. Our protectors, doctors, enforcers of law and order, and educators. But despite their vast impact on the young generation, educators have been extraordinarily underpaid and at times overworked, driving teachers to leave the field. 

In the most formative years of a generation’s lives, teachers lead students for 7.5+ hours a day, 5 days a week, for 180 days in the year. Teachers, along with parents,  are one of the few adults in a kid’s life who genuinely form their personalities for the rest of their lives. Teachers influence and encourage curiosity, critical thinking, and creativity, and help to instill discipline and accountability.  Teachers quite literally shape the next generation, but they sure aren’t being compensated accordingly. 

The Numbers

Per, in Pennsylvania, an entry-level doctor starts at $214,860, and an attorney’s median pay is $104,239, but a teacher’s median pay sits at $57,273.  In my opinion, those are three of the most crucial roles in society, however, there is a massive wage disparity. Per Tim Walker’s article for neaToday (National Education Association), teachers work nearly seven hours more a week than the average working adults, and they only get compensated for 75 percent of their time working. 

This is not only a problem of a lack of compensation, it has additionally become an issue of overall working conditions. Another shocking number Walker mentions is that 66 percent of teachers say their base salary is inadequate, and that teachers make thousands of dollars less than they did a decade ago due to inflation.

Now needless to say, we need to limit all of these issues. Teachers being underpaid, overworked, and consequently, unhappy. If we can limit these inhibitors, we can promote a status quo of educators feeling satisfactory in the field, rather than driving them out. 

But how? Where is the money going to come from? What laws will be made? 

A Possible Solution

As spotlights on issues of school staffing rise in the public eye, various levels of government have made their attempts at improving educators’ salaries. 

A proposed solution that I believe could thrive is the Pay Teachers Act of 2023, unveiled by U.S. Senator of Vermont, Bernie Sanders.

The legislation would guarantee a nationwide base salary of $60,000/yr which is set to increase as a teacher’s career progresses. 

This absolute baseline set out in the legislation not only ensures increases in educators salaries from the start, but it also lays the groundwork for increases over said educators time working. 

This will certainly not be the deciding factor of keeping an entire work force satisfied, but it is a step in the right direction. 

We need to keep educators in the field, and adequately pay them. 

And I believe that in order to do so, federal and state governments must look to increase the starting salaries of teachers through new legislation (along the lines of the earlier mentioned Pay Teachers Act of 2023), and do so without raising taxes or largely taking away from teachers benefits.

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