Teachers are not making Enough Money to Survive

America’s public school teachers are not making enough money to survive. Disgustingly, 18% of teachers have to work at a second job during the school year to pay the bills, Pew Research reports.

Meanwhile, 16% of teachers had to work summer jobs during the 2015-2016 school year. Moreover, teachers are three times as likely to work at a second job as the average American.

Younger teachers are even more likely to work at a second job. Pew estimates 26% of teachers under 30, or more than one in four work at second jobs. Additionally, 26% of all male teachers; over one-fourth, have second jobs.

Teacher Pay Is Falling

The obvious conclusion here is that America does not pay teachers enough. In fact, teacher pay has been stagnant for two decades, Chalkbeat claims.

Disturbingly, the average teacher salary has declined by $3,000 since 2009 when adjusted for inflation, the National Center for Education Studies (NCES) estimates. Moreover, teacher pay in some states is far below the national average.

For instance, the average teacher salary in Colorado was $46,506 a year in 2017, the NCES estimates. Moreover, the average teacher’s salary in Colorado fell from $55,000 a year in 2010 to $46,505 in 2017 when adjusted for inflation.

For instance, the average teacher salary in Colorado was $46,506 a year in 2017, the NCES estimates. Moreover, the average teacher’s salary in Colorado fell from $55,000 a year in 2010 to $46,505 in 2017 when adjusted for inflation.

Teachers Make less than truck Drivers

Under these circumstances, it is easy to see why many teachers are working at second jobs. They’re broke and getting broker.

Additionally, many teachers have to pay student loans even though they earn less than truck drivers. To explain, Indeed.com estimated an entry-level truck driver in the US makes $65,749 a year or $1,074 a week in July 2019.

Meanwhile, the National Center for Education Statistics estimates the average teacher salary in America was $58,590 a year for the 2016-2017 school year. Consequently, many teachers are making less money than some high school drop outs.

The Teacher Shortage is Here

Therefore headlines about a teacher shortage should not surprise us. Teachers are naturally, fleeing a profession that no longer pays.

In fact, the Economic Policy Institute estimates America is short 64,000 teachers. A logical reason for that shortfall, is that many Americans can no longer afford to go into teaching.

Thus, the sane thing to do is to raise teacher pay. However, many school districts cannot afford to pay teachers more.

How Not to Raise Teacher Pay

The most obvious beneficiary from the teacher pay shortfall is the presidential candidate and US Senator Kamala Harris (D-California).

Harris proposes giving all teachers a $13,500 a year pay raise, Vox reports. In detail, Harris’s plan is to have the federal government spend $315 billion on teacher salaries for 10 years.

Unfortunately, Harris does not say where that money will come from. Although she wants the federal government to distribute funds to states which will pay local districts to raise teachers’ salaries.

Consequently, I think most of Harris’s teacher pay raise will disappear into the bureaucracy and never reach the teachers. For example, school boards or bureaucrats could easily divert funds for other purposes.

An excellent example of such diversions was Pueblo, Colorado, where the school board could not find the money to give teachers a 2% raise, The Denver Post reports. However, the same school board could afford to give a private company a contract to plant flowers at school district headquarters.

A better Way to Raise Teacher Pay

I think a better way to raise teacher pay is for the federal government to pay teachers directly.

For instance, a basic income for teachers paid directly from Uncle Sam to the teacher’s bank accounts. My suggestion is to pay all public school teachers in the United States a $2,000 a month basic income.

Thus, we could give all teachers a $24,000 a year raise. For instance, a Colorado teacher’s salary will rise to $70,506 a year under this plan. Moreover, the average US teacher’s salary could grow from $58,590 to $82,590 a year. My suspicion is salaries like that will quickly end the teacher shortage.

We could finance this raise with a national sales tax, a Value-Added Tax, or a financial transactions tax. If we do not consider such suggestions, America is a totally pathetic country.

A nation that does not pay some of its important people, teachers, a living wage deserves to be ignorant. Sadly, it is our children who will pay the price if we do not pay teachers a decent wage.