Teachers in at least six states will soon see salary increases after lawmakers showed a renewed interest in teacher pay in the first six months of the year.
Lawmakers in 23 states proposed bills that would raise minimum teacher salaries, provide annual bonuses, and give paraeducators and special education teachers a boost, according to FutureEd, a Georgetown University research center that studies education policy. Those bills crossed the finish line in Arkansas, Florida, Maryland, Tennessee, Utah, and Washington. Four other states—California, Maine, Missouri, and Oklahoma—have passed bills that await final approval from their governors.
The action in state legislatures comes after governors in at least 29 states made addressing teacher staffing issues through increased compensation and recruitment efforts a top priority in their 2023 state of the state addresses, according to the Education Commission of the States, a nonprofit that tracks education policy.
The bill is unlikely to get through this Congress—but the problem is becoming impossible to ignore.
BY SHIRIN ALI
Teachers' pay is a near-constant debate in the U.S., with the consensus being it's rarely enough. One teacher-turned-congresswoman is trying to change that, with her American Teacher Act being reintroduced before Congress Wednesday. The bill aims, for one, to boost minimum starting salaries for teachers to $60,000. One policy expert says pay is "the No. 1 issue" among educators, and the lack of fair compensation deters many from entering the field, while pushing some veterans out. Meanwhile, teacher shortages persist across the country.
New teachers earned an average $41,770 starting salary during 2020-2021, according to the National Education Association.
By: Jackie Valley, The Christian Science Monitor
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I'm an edtech strategist writing about the business of learning.