Teaching Profession

Listen Up, Admins! Higher Salary Is the Start of Better Teacher Compensation

By Tanyon A. Duprey — May 30, 2024 3 min read
An illustration of a red path through a blue tinted maze leading to a dollar sign at the outside of the maze.
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Low pay. It’s long been a complaint and a talking point about teaching that has dominated the perception of the profession. While some states have improved wages for educators, the going rate for teachers has still left a lot to be desired for most.

The conversation about teacher pay also has broadened beyond salary, to include better health care coverage, honoring cross-district tenure, more solidly defined job requirements, and many other benefits.

EdWeek recently wrote about how much more teachers would like to see in their salaries—about a $20,000 pay raise. In response to that article, many teachers took to social media to express what they’d like to see in overall compensation for teachers. Here’s a collection of the most popular sentiments.

Livable pay is needed

“Livable wages are not too much to ask for. Especially because it is a service we ALL depend on to educate the future generation and without it, no one would have childcare. When I have folks working in public education who can’t pay their bills and feed their children, something is terribly wrong.”

Emmy K.

“It’s not about the amount [of money]. No one goes into teaching to be rich. It’s about the quality of life. Teachers should be compensated enough to buy a home, have health care, be student debt free, and retire comfortably [at a rate] that is matched by the cost of living in the area of the state they teach in.”

Ali H.

“We can’t afford to live in the districts we teach in, and that’s BEFORE we spend our own money on classroom supplies and teaching aids.”

Ak K.

“Back when I was young in the ‘60s, a teacher made enough money on a single salary to support a family of 6. Think about that for a minute.”

Pamela P.

Slow paycheck growth

“... I’m in Arizona and only make $50K, 15 years in. A raise of 1-3% does nothing for me with the cost of living! We need better pay!”

Natalie W.

“[The] issue is fairness, not only in comparison to jobs with similar qualifications and education, but [also] for veteran teachers. [A] starting salary and [a] 30-year veteran salary shouldn’t be close ... but it is closer than it should be here in N.C.”

Jim K.

“... 25 years [of] experience gets me about $10K more than a new teacher, and the raise yearly is just enough to cover the rise in health insurance costs ... It’s sad that the only way to get a real salary bump is to leave the classroom and become admin.”

Dallena N.

“In my area (a large metro area in Texas), the starting pay is higher than the average income... But 24 [years in] = 8K more than a first-year teacher. The [pay] steps are ridiculous.”

Julie L.

“Teachers are not valued. I have taught in the same district for 30 years. Only 2 different schools. [And now] my adult children make more than I do.”

Tara W.

Better pay is big, but benefits also count

“Honestly, [I’d like it] if my state and district would just give us better insurance coverage and not raise premiums every single year ...”

Andrew P.

“I’d be happy if our healthcare/dental/vision was 100% paid for with no deductible. That would be worth it to me.”

Sandi L.

Transferrable tenure, credits, and experience would help

“Tenure should be transferable, at least within the same state, so teachers can apply for the better-paying jobs like other professions, rather than being locked into a district just because they worked there for their first few years.”

Cathy S.

“I taught in 3 states ... Each time I had to earn 3 or more credits to get certified in the new state and also get docked in pay equivalent to 3 years’ experience. Respect for several years of experience? Not!”

Sheryl S.

“I’d just like a cost of living raise like so many other professions. I’d also like my benefits to transfer with me if I change districts in the same state.”

Erin M.

Less ‘fine print’ in the job description

“ ... now [that] I’m retired, I’m grateful for a good pension. What I wanted was more time, not having to do paperwork every evening and weekend. Time is more important than money, hence I took early retirement.”

Maggie L.

“I’m happy with my salary. I’m unhappy with the lack of support and extras we are always asked to do.”

Jane D.

“It’s often the conditions such as planning time and class sizes that we fight for, which benefit our students.”

Dave H.

“I think [there] should be a massive increase every time we are exposed to violence.”

Tara P.

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