Teachers’ Pay Must Be at the Heart of Global Education Reform

While most in the education field believe they are underpaid for the work they do, there are many people who argue that teachers’ pay is fair. Some of the arguments that teachers are fairly compensated for their work is the paid time off teachers enjoy during breaks, they receive health insurance and other benefits that supplement their salaries, and that teaching has lower education requirements. This article will counter these arguments and discuss what needs to change regarding teachers’ pay in order to effectively reform education. 

  1. Teachers’ current pay is fair because of the amount of paid time off built into their work schedules

This argument is an inaccurate and unfair assessment of a teachers’ work year and is detrimental to both teachers and students. This article shows that because teachers are so underpaid most are forced to get second or even third jobs just to get by. And because teachers work full-time during the school year, this either means they are stressed out and exhausted from working too many hours during the school year, or they are competing with their students for low-paying part-time jobs in the summer. Also, many teachers have to teach summer school to make ends meet, so their breaks really aren’t what many people outside the education field imagine them to be. 

  1. Teachers’ current pay is fair because they receive health insurance and other benefits to supplement their salaries

Many salaried positions also offer health insurance and other benefits, and this is not a valid argument for lower pay in any role. And teachers’ health insurance and other benefits are not as great as some may think. This article describes how many teachers in Texas are outraged by their high health insurance premiums, with many avoiding visits to doctors or having to take second jobs just to pay for their so-called “benefits.” Again, this is time and energy that should be put into teaching, not making ends meet on the side because teachers are paid so poorly.

  1. Teachers’ current pay is fair because their jobs have low education requirements

This is a more complicated argument against raising teachers’ pay that addresses other issues at the heart of education reform. It’s true that currently, most teaching positions (for high school grade and below) require a bachelor’s degree. Higher paid positions, for example in the medical field, have justified high salaries to help pay off the many years of school those types of jobs require. According to this article, education majors are the lowest performers among all college students. This isn’t to suggest that teachers aren’t smart, dedicated, and hard-working people. But teacher pay needs to be higher, and so do the educational requirements to become a teacher. This will attract stronger candidates for teaching positions, which will benefit students. 

In order to improve the education system, teachers must be compensated fairly for the work they do. This doesn’t only mean that teachers should receive higher pay, but that the requirements for teachers should change too to reflect the importance and difficulty of the position. The education system is crying out for reform, and teachers’ pay is at the heart of the issue.

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