Salaries Flunking the Grade?

August 22, 2009
As a child we dream of our future, constantly finding ourselves answering the same old question...
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

In 2005 a survey was taken among 1,000 teenagers ages 13 to 17, and they were asked a single question, “What kind of work do you think you will do for a career?” And the career that came out on top, teaching. Although do those teens know how much Miss. Honey makes behind her apple income? In 2007-2008, the average public teacher salary was $52,308. That’s were things need to change or teacher salaries will continue to be held back.

The average increase in a teacher’s salary from one year to the next is 3.1%, which can be a fair increase, but not when the increase in inflation is 4.3%. It’s not fair that their salaries should be behind the rate of inflation. We shouldn’t have people struggling to pay their bills when it is not their fault that inflation is increasing faster than their salary. They have such an important role in society and they are constantly building the economy. They teach others how to do a job in the future, which will continue to hold up the economy 18 to 20 years from each day when a child once taught by teachers is hired.

50% of new teachers leave their job in the first five years. 50%! So who is going to stay to fill the 2.2 million teachers needed just in the next ten years due to the increase in student enrollment? Teachers have always been in demand, and as our country grows so does our education system. Our education system has had the same job in our economy; Teachers teach children as the develop, until when they become a part of our economy. Although the job has gotten more important while we are in this economic slump. With the amount of layoffs increasing, some people now need to learn a new skill so they can get back to paying their bills. So until we get out of this slump, teachers will continue to help hold us up, and after that too.

Now the question is “How do we increase teacher salaries?” Raising their salaries wont be an ask and receive act, laws might need to pass, and minds need to be convinced. Merit pay could be a great way to help increase teacher salaries. In addition to an annual salary a merit pay bonus could be added to the salary of a teacher whose students do well because of their teaching. This will allow teachers who work hard to help their students learn and succeed, to get the bonus they very well deserve. And that’s just one way to answer the question.

Teachers have not always been on the top of a salary list, and thats a fact. Their important job has struggled through our economy, despite the job’s high demand. It is time to set the expectations, or will you watch the salaries flunk the grade again?

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