There is a very smart way for the federal government to improve education and end the labor unrest that is plaguing the nation’s schools. The federal government should pay public and charter school teachers $1,000 in cash each month.
The average teachers’ salary nationwide; which was estimated at $58,353 by the National Education Association (NEA), is line with the average household income -but many educators make far less. Teachers in many states earn far less than the average household income of $57,230 to $59,039.
The average teacher salary was $42,025 a year in South Dakota; and $45,409 a year in Idaho, CheatSheet.com estimated. To make matters worse, salaries for many teachers are in decline, while living expenses are rising. Salaries for teachers in Colorado fell by 15% between 1969 and 2017, The Washington Post calculated.
Why Uncle Sam Should Pay Teachers Directly
There is a way the federal government can rectify this situation without creating excess bureaucracy. It can start making direct cash payments to teachers.
Simply pay any teacher with an annual income that is less than $50,000 a year; or the national average household income, $1,000 a month. The payments would come directly from the US Treasury and go straight to the teacher’s bank account.
This would ensure that the money reaches the people who need it the teachers without creating any new bureaucracy. Instead of dispersing funds to school districts or state governments, where politicians and bureaucrats can divert them, pay the teachers directly.
It would help teachers; the average teacher in South Dakota would be making $54,025, a year; a $12,000 increase in salary. The money would stimulate local economies by giving middle-class professionals; that live and work in the community, extra cash to spend. School districts and state legislatures would benefit because they would not be asked to spend money they lack.
If we wanted to be fair, we might just pay every public school teacher in the country $1,000 a month. Either way, such a pay raise would increase the number of people going into teaching because salaries would be higher.
Labor arrest might be alleviated because the teachers’ main gripe; low pay, would be partially alleviated. Conservatives might like it because the extra cash can bypass the U.S. Department of Education and there would be no automatic union dues included.
How Uncle Sam can Increase Teacher Pay Fast
Here is how I imagine it would work. Any licensed teacher that is employed by a school district or charter school that reported less than $50,000 on his her tax return would qualify. The funds would be paid directly to the teacher’s bank account each month.
This would be better than U.S. Senator Cory Booker’s (D-New Jersey) imbecilic jobs guarantee because it would address a specific need. The money would be going straight to people doing important jobs in our communities, rather than to make-work projects. It would address a problem plaguing many American communities and help people in rural areas, where schools are often criminally underfunded.
The money would help students in the poorest schools directly because the payment would eliminate the middlemen. That is the school administrators and school boards that often divert federal and state funds to pet projects – or worse big salaries for themselves.
Many of the teachers would use the funds to buy supplies and equipment for their classrooms and pupils. The average American teacher spends around $600 of her or his own money on basic supplies every year, AdoptaClassroom.org estimated. Educators in poor schools often spend far more because they end up having to buy supplies and personal items for impoverished students.
A direct federal payment to teachers would not solve every problem education but it would be a good place to start. Once teacher salaries go up we can begin to address the rest of the criminal underfunding that our schools face.