Juliana S. Michigan

Why we need to increase teachers wages

Teachers are essential building blocks to creating a better society. Without them, America would be nowhere as advanced as it is today. So then why do we pay them so little when they contribute so much?

Dear Future President,

America’s mentality is completely backwards. We praise the one’s that don't contribute to society in order to make it a better place. Yet, those that make a lasting impact get little to no recognition. How do you think the lawyers become lawyers? The doctors become doctors? Better yet, who inspired the teachers to become teachers? Teachers are the basis of our society. They do everything for their students yet expect nothing in return. To give them such a low pay is disrespectful, and, to make matters worse, gives a horrible impression about the American value system. We need to acknowledge the great impact and opportunities teachers provide to society and pay them accordingly.

To begin, due to the decrease in teachers salary, students are not getting the proper education needed to shape America and improve the economy. The average teacher’s salary is only around $56,000 annually (4), and has dropped 1.3% from 1999-2013 (1). Teachers get paid around $20 an hour and substitute teachers around $11 an hour (1). This simply isn't enough money to pay someone who is setting your child up for success. If teachers get an increase in pay, it has the potential to increase student’s satisfaction and could attract teachers with higher credentials (5). This, in all, could lead to students thriving to learn, and a better education for our future leaders in the world (5). More than 60% of teachers hold a secondary job to make ends meet, such as after school tutoring or waiting tables at their local restaurant (5). Not to mention, many teachers are married and have a family to support. A married couple with two children pays about 13% in income taxes, which means the $56,000 a teacher makes per a year is now about $49,000 (9). Now take the basic necessities needed to survive such as food and clothing. The average American household with an income between $30,000 and $75,000 will spend about $150 a week on food. This adds up to about $7,200 just for food each year (10). This wage also does not include water, electricity, health care, insurance, and many other bills needed to upkeep the American home. And if they have children? Kids are always growing, so they need new clothes and shoes about every six months. They also go to school, which means that they need supplies to help them succeed. And what if this child has to stay after school because parents cannot pick their child up right after the bell rings? Now the family has to pay money for after school child care or a nanny. Adding all of these costs together leaves very little room for money to be spent on things such as small vacations to visit family that lives out of state, especially on a single family income. This takes away from their family time and personal life, and also causes a teacher to become less motivated when forced to work (5). In all, we need to increase every teacher’s annual salary by at least 10%. This will help increase the amount of successful Americans in our country. Eventually, it will lead to a more advanced society than ever before.

In addition, it is critical to increase teachers annual salary due to the tough demands required to educate the younger generation. Working conditions are often challenging, especially with high school and preschool students who tend to be the least behaved, therefore cutting into others learning (6). They work long hours, and it doesn't just stop and start by the sound of the bell at the end and beginning of the school day. They work beyond the 7-8 hours spent in the school facility, not to mention study sessions for students that are struggling and coaching school sport teams. They also have to spend personal time making lesson plans, tests, and grading papers for the upcoming school days (7). Along with cutting into their personal time, teaching also requires spending some of their personal money. Many teachers use their own money to buy classroom materials that are essential to the health and learning of students (7). Most of this money is not provided by the school and comes from their hard earned dollars. Teachers endure enough hard conditions as it is without being fully recognized for their hard work. Their dedication into teaching the future engineers and writers of our era should not go unnoticed.

Lastly, teachers alter student's lives, therefore deserve a raise in pay. They inspire us to find our ultimate passions and legacies. Few other jobs offer as much opportunity to directly serve multiple people at once (6). Some of the most influential people that have ever lived were teachers, such as Jesus and Buddha, who have forever shaped our world. And without them? America would be a third world country, with no effective economy or political system. We would have to travel miles a day just to collect our water supply, which is filled with contaminants and harmful diseases. They are crucial to the development of our country, and influencing the ones around us. Without my teachers, I would not know that I have an attraction to the math and chemistry fields. They provide labor for our country, which ultimately fights corruption and creates jobs. Teachers are the second parents to children in America, because they shape their future and teach them the responsibilities and tasks it takes to be an American citizen. They prepare a child for the real world. They do so much for us, yet they hardly ever get recognition for one’s success (7). When watching award shows like the Academy Awards or the Grammy’s, how often do you hear famous actors and musicians thanking their teachers to that leading moment? Almost never. Without their high school drama and choir teachers, they would have a completely different future. To give thanks to our teachers, I believe increasing their wages would be the most beneficial way to show gratitude for their hard work.

Without teachers, America would not be as technically or medically advanced as it is today. Teachers are the ones who educate others for a successful life that they want to pursue. They strive for a child's success, and have a passion for shaping the lives of others to create a better world. It is outlandish to me that teachers have such low wages when they are the ones that shape successful americans. Although some believe that professions like doctors or lawyers should be the ones with a dominant pay, think about what got them there, and who supplied them with the knowledge? It should be our obligation to raise teachers salaries, because they create a better future for our country and give Americans a chance at a fulfilling life.


A concerned student for America's future.


http://www.payscale.com/research/US/All_K-12_Teachers/Salary (1)

http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2016/05/average_michigan_teacher_salar.html (2)

https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d13/tables/dt13_211.60.asp (3)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2013/12/15/how-much-teachers-get-paid-state-by-state/ (4)



https://ww2.kqed.org/learning/2015/05/08/should-teachers-get-paid-more-money/ (6)

http://faq.ph/why-public-teachers-deserve-a-salary-increase/ (7)

http://www.debate.org/opinions/should-teachers-get-paid-more (8)

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-04-06/five-charts-show-what-americans-really-pay-in-taxes (9)

https://www.reference.com/beauty-fashion/much-americans-spend-clothing-year-c186e9fa22b20ac1 (10)

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