By Ellen Sherratt, originally published in the August/September, 2021 issue of Equity and Access
As schools reopen and the country transitions from crisis mode to thoughtfully considering how to put new federal resources to their best use, a critical area of spending that has not received the attention it deserves is teacher pay. Teachers continue to earn just 19% of what similarly educated professionals earn, an amount that makes teaching too great a financial sacrifice for far too many talented professionals.
The Teacher Salary Project has launched a bipartisan Teacher Salary Champion campaign to address this head on. The Teacher Salary Project is a nonpartisan organization committed to working with everyone in the country to ensure that teaching becomes the prestigious, desirable, financially viable, and professionally exciting job we all know it needs to be. The Teacher Salary Champion campaign seeks to amplify on social media and beyond the tremendous support among leaders across our nation for increasing teacher salaries to reflect their worth. Moreover, the campaign aims to inspire President Biden to meaningfully advance the campaign promises around teacher pay while also inspiring state and local leaders across the country to do their part to ensure we are paying sufficiently competitive salaries to recruit and retain enough excellent and diverse teachers for every student.
Many leaders have boldly lent their voice and leadership to support the message that teacher pay must improve. NBC News Now highlighted the campaign, while Craig Newmark of Craigslist, former U.S. Secretary of Education John King, dozens of National and State Teachers of the Year, and many other leaders in education, policy, and business across the nation have signed on as Teacher Salary Champions.
Too often, leaders do not seriously propose teacher pay increases for fear of being ridiculed for suggesting such an expensive proposition. In reality, two-thirds of the public say they would be willing to increase their taxes in order to improve teacher pay. Where there is the will there is a way – and The Teacher Salary Project hopes to help leaders collaborate with each other, draw on data, and take those first steps to find a way to improve teacher pay.
If you agree that achieving educational equity and excellence for every student requires attention to teacher pay, please join the campaign by signing on as a Teacher Salary Champion.