Sunday, January 30, 2011

Support for Increased Teacher Salary Levels

Education advocates have been pushing for increased teacher salaries for many years. The National Education Association (NEA), recommends a $40,000 starting salary for all pre-K—12 teachers in order to avoid “[losing] good teachers to better-paying professions.” Currently, the national average salary for new teachers is just over $34,000 according to the NEA.

However, with a budget shortfall of at least $15 billion this legislative session and a reluctance to use the “rainy day” fund, many teachers in Texas are at risk of losing their jobs entirely. According to an article from The Dallas Morning News, if the preliminary House budget plan does not increase, it would mean “a loss of 80,000 to 100,000 jobs in school districts across the state.” Dallas ISD Superintendent, Michael Hinojosa, added that "it's too early to speculate where cuts in payroll will need to take place, but everything will likely be on the table." Many people fear that with these staff cuts, the number of students in each classroom will increase, causing the quality of Texas public education to decrease rapidly.

Photo of DISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa courtesy of the Dallas Observer.

According to a blog written by an editorial writer for The Dallas Morning News, the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) is generally opposed to increasing spending for education and is pushing for different approaches to dealing with the budget shortfall. Some of their ideas for reducing education spending include eliminating regulations such as minimum salary schedules, paying teachers more for an advanced degree and teacher tenure.

Regardless of how school districts plan to handle these overwhelming budget cuts, it seems outspoken support for increased teacher salaries may disappear for a while considering many teachers fear losing their jobs altogether.

-Kaitlyn Van Gorkom

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