The Raider Review

Teachers Demand a Higher Salary

Source: TIME

Source: TIME

Ayanna Jones-Reid, Staff Writer

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In Oklahoma and West Virginia, teachers went on strike for higher pay at the end of March.

Oklahoma and West Virginia have two of the lowest teacher salaries in the country. According to The Washington Post, Oklahoma ranks “49th-lowest” with an estimated $45,276 yearly salary and West Virginia ranking “48th-lowest, $45,622 yearly in 2016.” For many years, parents, teachers, and students have questioned why a career that is so important in society, receives so little pay.

Protesting teachers argue that by underpaying teachers, the country is not prioritizing education.

Unlike most careers that only require work from 9 to 5 on weekdays, teaching is a job that requires dedication to work on nights and weekends as well. To do all of what is expected of them, teachers are obligated to work at home. Not only do teachers spend hours coming up with lesson plans that will engage students during their free time, but they also spend time grading assignments, tests, and projects. Many districts struggle with teacher turnover because it can be difficult to retain new teachers without competitive salaries.

World history and SGA teacher Mr. Brian Secker explained that because of the way that pay steps work in PGCPS, teachers make more money each year unless pay is frozen. Teachers who come in to the county with experience are paid for their years of experience, but teachers who have been in the county for years may be at a lower step – as many as three steps, or about $6,000 per year – than their colleagues with the same amount of experience who are coming from other counties.

Mr. Secker explained that “teachers do deserve to be paid more. To start, PGCPS can pay all their employees equally as our contract states.” He suggested that the county save money by moving from physical textbooks to online books over the next few years.

He also explained that it is difficult for teachers when county-level officials get raises and they do not, especially considering that teachers have long “gone unrecognized and underpaid.”

“It’s hard to swallow anyone receiving a 10-30% raise at the county level. I don’t want to discredit what work that individual might be doing, but I know the work I do. It too should be rewarded. The raises teachers are asking for are nominal. A 3% raise each year and then a COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) every 2-3 years.  That is way less than any person receives in the private sector.”

Mr. Secker suggested that any person who feels differently should “spend a year doing the job of teacher.”

According to PayScale.com, the average salary for elementary school teachers is $43,899, the least amount of money paid in all teachers, and the average salary for high school teacher is $48,275, with middle school teachers following behind with an average of $46,272.

Update: According to Fox5news, as of last week, the school board for Prince George County Public Schools is “calling for a halt to executive staff salary increases after records revealed massive pay increases in the school system’s central office.”

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Teachers Demand a Higher Salary