By: Nelson Kramer
Local News Editor
Teachers have arguably one of the most important jobs in the country; they guide and inspire the next generation, giving students a sanctuary to explore their interests and helping to shape our future. So why are people in this profession often underpaid, mistreated, and underrepresented?
Schools across the country need help finding teachers, as well as teachers with specialties in math, science, and language. One of the main reasons qualified teachers are hard to find has to do with the low salaries and the few benefits attached to the profession. RAND, a corporation commended for its work with data analysis, states, “66 percent of U.S. teachers who responded to a new, nationally representative survey said their base salary was inadequate, compared with 39 percent of U.S. working adults.” This discrepancy between teachers and the general public is detrimental to youth education.
It’s not only funding that creates the loss of teachers, but also poor work environments. Western Governors University explains, “It’s unfortunate that while many teachers work in positive schools with helpful colleagues and administrators, others deal with poor leadership, a lack of funding, and draconian rules that create a toxic school environment.” Not only do some teachers experience poor working conditions, but they also endure a growing list of responsibilities. Educators have the obligation to provide a safe and comfortable space for learning. Still, as years go on, many educators struggle to keep up with tasks that provide support for mental health and gun safety on top of their typical duties of evaluating students, grading schoolwork, meeting with parents, creating lesson plans, being a role model, and staying on track with curriculum.
When compared with less fortunate schools, Los Gatos High School is extremely lucky to have generous funding and resources for teachers, including staff development days, and student/teacher grants. Unfortunately, this doesn’t apply to many schools around the country, especially in impoverished areas affecting the environment in which many students learn. It is necessary to know that educators in this country are an underrepresented group overall, but there is a spectrum with privileges depending heavily on the school at which they work.
To address issues like these, schools must treat their staff better by taking a multifaceted approach to improve working conditions. The most critical point is giving teachers better pay. According to Salary.com, the average teacher salary in the U.S. is between $47,793 and $69,808. With the average house in the U.S. costing upwards of $416,100 and the average cost of living being around $42,000 for a single person, this leaves little room for extra expenses and luxuries many of us enjoy.
While some schools might pay their teachers good salaries, provide staff development days, and have the funds to supply more tools for learning like computers and books, others may not be as fortunate. They need our help to speak up and provide them with better resources.
(CNBC, CNBC, CTA, Envoy, NPR, RAND Corp., Rocket Homes, salary.com, WGU, Zillow)