Why Teachers Should Get Paid More

Why Teachers Should Get Paid More

Teaching is considered a noble profession in every part of the world. After all, most of us had to pass through the instructions of a teacher to get to where we are now.

But despite society’s appreciation of the critical role teachers play, teachers are notoriously underpaid, with many struggling to make ends meet.

This article will be discussing why teachers should be paid more. But before we begin, let’s first take a look at why teachers are underpaid in the first place.

Why Teachers Are Underpaid

It’s no secret that teachers aren’t the highest-paid professionals out there. After all, teachers earn 23.5% less than their peers in other professions with similar education and experience. Let’s take a look at the reasons behind this.


The major reason why teachers are underpaid is that education is underfunded. This means schools are forced to operate on a limited budget which results in lesser salaries for teachers.

Not only does this impact the teachers’ salaries but they also receive fewer resources for their classrooms. Some teachers end up having to spend their own money on purchasing stationery and other resources for their classrooms.

Poor Public Perception

While teaching is an essential profession in every society, it’s perceived as a profession reserved only for second-rate individuals.

It’s seen as a fallback profession for people who couldn’t make it into the professions they really wanted or for people who simply love working with children more than they love money.

The public also doesn’t believe that teachers work hard as teachers enjoy all those long holidays. Compared to other professionals who work all year round, it’s easy for them to see teaching as an easy profession.

Reliance On Local Funding

In many states across the US, funding for teachers and public education, in general, is derived from state income taxes and property taxes.

Sadly, this can lead to huge financial gaps between rich and low-income areas, which can have an impact on teacher salaries.

Poor Union Representation

While critics may argue that teachers’ unions have negative effects on students, stronger unions help teachers secure higher salaries and better working conditions.

Unfortunately, teachers in states without any strong unions are unable to negotiate for these higher salaries and working conditions.

Gender Bias

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), about 76% of public school teachers were females from 2017 to 2018.

Research has shown that female-dominated professions tend to be undervalued and underpaid. And with the teaching profession being female-dominated, it’s no surprise that they’re underpaid.

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Average Public School Teacher Salary

Teachers’ salaries vary depending on the state, level of education, and experience. According to the National Education Associate (NEA), the average teacher salary is estimated to be $66,397 for the 2021-2022 school year.

When adjusted for inflation, it is expected that teachers brought home, on average $2,179 less per year than they did a decade ago.

While this may be the average, teachers in states like New York, California, and Massachusetts are some of the highest paid while Mississippi and South Dakota are some of the lowest paid.

Why Teachers Should Get Paid More

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why teachers deserve to be paid more.

Attract And Retain Quality Teachers

The teaching profession is notoriously known for being underpaid. Unfortunately, this makes the profession unattractive to new entrants.

Some simply leverage the teaching profession as a stepping stone while they look for a better-paying job. This behavior is understandable especially when expenses begin to pile.

Providing teachers with a competitive salary will incentivize people to enter into and stay in the teaching profession. Teachers won’t resort to advancing themselves only to leverage their knowledge for better-paying jobs.

Increased Student Performance

According to research conducted by Garcia and Hans, which included a sample of 10,000 school districts, it was identified that students scored higher when teachers were paid more.

On the whole, they concluded that every 10% increase in teacher salary was associated with about a 0.2-point boost to average math and English scores.

And while this gain may be small, it applies to the general student population, potentially producing a large accumulated gain over the entire student body in the country.

They concluded that increased pay attracts higher-quality candidates, boosts retention, and heightens morale and enthusiasm for the job.

So, teachers who are well compensated for their efforts would be incentivized to put in their best effort toward properly educating students.

Encourages Students To Become Teachers

Even when students have an interest in joining the teaching profession, the low salary provides little incentive for them to join.

Students see teachers as their role models but the majority of them aim for more lucrative professions even in cases where they would’ve preferred to work with children.

Higher-performing students end up choosing jobs that pay higher than the teaching profession. Increasing teachers’ salaries would prompt such students to consider joining the profession.

Address Teacher Shortage

Teacher shortage is a problem in many states and districts, particularly in low-income areas as well as some specific subject areas. To solve this issue, these districts and states would need to incentivize people to enter the profession.

The only way to make this work would be to make teacher salaries competitive, thereby incentivizing people to join the profession.

Reflect Value Of Education

Education is key to the advancement of society. So, it’s understandable that teachers should be valued for being the primary source of formal education for the youth.

Unfortunately, underpaying teachers shows that we place little value on education. Additionally, it also shows that society has little appreciation for the job of a teacher.

While it’s true that the majority of teachers enter the profession because they want to work/help children, competitive pay shows society’s appreciation for their dedication.

Reduced Turnover And Burnout

Teachers spend the majority of their time on campus working and sometimes even when they close from work. They carry scripts home to grade and conduct research at home to create lessons that would be easily understood.

Some teachers resort to taking up second jobs to generate enough revenue to make ends meet, while others simply leave the profession to find higher-paying jobs.

The best way to avoid any burnout from side jobs and teacher turnover is to provide teachers with the necessary financial security to stay in the profession.

Professional Development

Teachers are more likely to improve themselves if the financial returns would be worth it. Imagine spending your money to improve yourself academically only to receive an almost insignificant increase in salary.

While professional development would benefit students, teachers are less likely to undertake such activities so long as the returns aren’t attractive.

Knowing that they would receive a considerable increase in salary for improving themselves academically would incentivize teachers to undertake such academic activities, which in the long run benefits students.

Attract Male Teachers

Teaching has become a predominantly female profession with only 24% making up male teachers.

With such a huge disparity in the ratio of female to male teachers, some students may not benefit from the diverse experiences and other advantages male teachers bring on board.

And while there’re various reasons why there’re fewer males in the profession, one of the primary reasons is the lower salary.

This may not be fair to female teachers especially if the salaries are increased simply to attract male teachers. However, this would most likely help increase the percentage of male teachers in the profession.

Fair Payment

Teachers are professionals who’ve earned their qualifications like their peers in other professions.

Unfortunately, teachers earn 23.5% less than their peers in other professions with similar education and experience, despite the demanding nature of the profession.

This is completely unfair to teachers as this results in teachers simply leaving the profession for other more competitive professions.

Cost Of Living And Family Expenses

Like everyone else, teachers have families they need to support and other expenses to pay for. And with the increasing cost of living in recent years, it’s become more difficult for teachers to make ends meet.

In some cases, teachers are unable to even live in the communities they serve, and their salaries make it difficult for them to support their families.

Increasing their salaries would assist in giving them the stability they require to care for their families.

Akshay Vikhe

I am an aspiring Data Scientist with a huge interest in technology. I like to review courses that are genuine and add real value to student’s careers. Read my story

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