How much should teachers be paid?

Pay should include stipends for professional development, materials

“I feel teachers should be paid a starting salary of $50,000 per year. Teachers must take classes to stay current in their field. In addition, many teachers stay after school to help students who are struggling or need clarification of a concept they are studying. Most teachers I know also buy things for their classroom without being reimbursed for it.” —Anonymous

“I firmly believe the starting salary for a teacher should be $45,000 to $55,000 per year with a master’s degree. Over the past 35 years, I have taught in industry, public education at the secondary level, and public and private education at the higher-education level. To obtain the credentials and authorizations to teach at these various levels has cost me approximately $100,000.  Teachers, along with doctors and other highly skilled professionals, must maintain and update their skills, commonly referred to as continuing education, on a regular basis. This can be in the form of additional courses or seminars, creating additional costs for teachers. This does not take into account the extra out-of-pocket expenses that teachers accumulate for classroom materials, books, and extracurricular activities, for which they are not compensated either by the school district or parents.” —Doyle J. Potter, faculty advisor, Azusa Pacific University, Department of Innovative Educational Technology and Physical Education

Salaries should at least equal those of service professionals

“Compared to other services, teachers are a bargain. Do you have someone to maintain your lawn, plow your driveway, fix your plumbing, car, roof, or computer? Let’s assume for argument’s sake that their average hourly wage is $20 (we know that in reality, it is much higher for many of these services). If you hired your child’s teacher at $20/hour for 7 hours per day, that would total $140 per day. If that teacher had 26 of your neighbor’s children at $20/hour for 7 hours, that would total $3,870 per day. If the teacher worked 180 days, that comes to a grand total of $696,600.” —Barbara Jagla, technology literacy specialist, Tewksbury, Mass.

Teachers should be paid like babysitters. This is similar to an eMail I got: The national average for babysitting is actually $10-12/hour for college-age babysitters. Teacher wage per hour: $5 per hour for each student. Average number of students per class: 22. Average number of hours per day a teacher works: 7 hours. Average number of days per year a teacher works: 180. Class, let’s pull out our calculators. 22 students at $5 per hour = $110 per hour. $110 per hour multiplied 7 hours a day = $770 per day. $770 per day multiplied 180 days a year = $138,600. He also argues that on top of this, most teachers put in an extra ‘three to four hours a day preparing, assessing, tutoring, and participating in extracurricular events to ensure the success of their students.’ Based on that, plus the fact that the average rate of babysitters is around $10/hour, his calculator should actually be well more than doubled … in the high $300,000s. How’s that for a starting salary?” —Carola Lowe, technology teacher, Metcalf Elementary School, Houston, Texas

Make salaries competitive

“I had a professor in college, when working on my master’s degree, say teachers should make the same as doctors, lawyers, senators, and presidents.  After all, if it weren’t for teachers, how would these people be who they are?  He continued to lay out his plan by saying: Set the curriculum for education majors as rigorous as medical and law students, which would weed out those who aren’t serious or capable of continuing in the program, … and you would only have the most qualified entering the workforce. Then salaries could be set accordingly, like doctors and lawyers, and accountability for end results could be set high without resentment. Teachers would then be able to support their families without working two or three jobs and taking away important planning time preparing for educating the children they have been assigned.” —Harold Malcolm

Meris Stansbury

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