Are Teachers Paid Enough?

By Miriam Lee

The Charter News – 1/7/19

The debate on whether teachers are paid fairly or not has become quite the controversy. The average public school teacher is paid significantly more than the average private school teacher. However, both public and private school teachers are paid less than the average college graduate. And at ACA, a public charter school, it’s less than most public and private schools.

Many people believe that this means public school teachers are overpaid, and private school teachers are underpaid. Every school is different, but generally, teachers seem to enjoy the environment of private schools; they are better at allowing teachers the ability to educate. The students are also more willing to learn which makes the teachers feel a better sense of accomplishment overall.

The Atlantic News took a national poll on what problems schools face. This poll paints a clear picture as to why teachers prefer to teach at private schools, despite lower pay.

As much as private school teachers love teaching, they can’t always afford to teach at these schools. New teachers are paid less, due to lack of experience, and are usually financially inclined to work for public schools.

Private schools pay rather insubstantially, which may lead one to believe public school teachers are overpaid. In comparison to private schools, it would seem that way, but if looked at from a larger perspective, it is not so apparent.

Some infer that teachers are overpaid since they have market-level wages, healthcare and retirement benefits, as well as long scheduled breaks, such as during winter and summer. These breaks could be looked at as beneficial, although it can be difficult to find jobs to support themselves during those breaks.

Consider these facts: without teachers, we most likely wouldn’t be able to read this sentence. Teachers are the foundation of our future. Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, and Thomas Edison all went to years of school before becoming such important figures in world history. We were taught about them by teachers. Think of all the facts and ideas you wouldn’t know about if someone hadn’t taught them to you… language, math, geography, even the small things like shaking with your right hand. Teachers need to be accredited for their work.

They do much more than what meets the eye, such as taking their work home, and working in after-hours clubs. Working a regular seven hour school day is one thing, but people don’t always realize that teachers are working nonstop, constantly working on lesson plans, grading work, helping students with homework, etc. Moreover teachers that work in school clubs usually aren’t paid for it, even though they’re spending valuable hours working with students.

Now, we must look at where the money comes from. As we discussed, private schools pay much lower salaries than public schools; the reason for this is that the money comes from different places. Private school pay for teachers comes from donations, sponsors, and/or families. They do not receive money from the government, and there are fewer essential benefits. On the other hand, public school teachers get their money straight from the government. This money comes out of our taxes: if they were to be paid more, then taxes would need to be raised accordingly or cuts would be needed elsewhere.

Teachers may be paid market-level, but is that really what they deserve? They put in amazing amounts of time and effort into teaching our future citizens. Yes, they do have perks to their job, but is that really enough to thank them? I don’t think so. I believe that teachers are underpaid, especially teachers at ACA and private schools, who work for the purpose of teaching, yet struggle with low income. Teachers want to teach, but they can’t always afford to do so.