Kamala Harris Says She will Give Teachers a $13,500 raise
The Bay Area’s own Kamala Harris is making headlines today because of her plan to raise the average teacher’s salary in America by $13,500. The former San Francisco District Attorney announced the plan at a rally in Houston, claiming she would make the largest-ever federal investment in educators’ pay if elected president. The $13,500 pay raise is equivalent to a 23% base pay increase for the average teacher, (the average teacher in America makes around 60k per year).
The plan would cost around $315 billion over 10 years. Now, you may be saying, ‘that sounds like a lot of money’ (it is) and maybe you’re saying, ‘Trump already added $2 trillion to the national debt’ (he did). But to put this cost in perspective, our military budget in 2019 was over $700 billion for ONE YEAR. Under Trump, Congress will spend over 61% of its entire discretionary budget on military and security this year, while it will spend 5% on education. That should tell you a bit about our priorities as a government, we spend a lot more on bullets and bombs, than we do on books and lesson plans. Here is piechart showing how we are spending our budget in 2019:
Education is rarely a major issue during presidential campaigns. But Harris’s plan could tap into a wave of energy and enthusiasm helped by the teachers strikes around the country in the past two years, most recently in Oakland, Los Angeles and Denver but also in traditionally red states, such as West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Arizona. The public are becoming more and more aware of our lack of investment education.
Harris’ plan calls for “an immediate federal investment in every state” to “provide the first 10 percent of funding needed to close the teacher pay gap.” And schools that predominantly serve students of color will receive even more funding to increase teacher pay.
“We are a nation and a society that pretends to care about education. But not so much the education of other people’s children. We gotta deal with that,” Harris said Saturday, previewing her plan. “You can judge a society by the way it treats its children. And one of the greatest expressions of love that a society can give its children is educating those children with the resources they need. Teachers are our greatest resource in that endeavor.”
According to a recent USA Today/Ipsos poll, six in 10 Americans believe teachers are not compensated fairly. Not only is Kamala Harris’ plan good for the country, it also may be good politics. Look out 2020.