Opinion | Educators need higher pay and appreciation

Teachers deserve more than they are given.

Naomi Rivera Morales, Opinions Columnist

Educators in the U.S. are putting their best foot forward for students. No matter where they are, educators influence students inside and outside of their classrooms.

Teachers are faced with more than enough when it comes to the start of a new school day. A few of these involve their work with the parents, managing a student’s behavior, balancing effective learning styles and lesson plans, and learning to become more familiar with evolving technology.

Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Florida, put a spotlight on this issue. She introduced a bill on Dec. 14 about raising the minimum wage salaries to $60,000. Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-New York, co-sponsored the bill.

Following the announcement, Wilson highlighted her hopes for this bill to pass through, allowing teachers to gain the higher pay that they deserve.

“I think that the pandemic itself gave us a great snapshot view of how important teachers are,” Wilson said about the proposal on ABC News. “This is a period in our history that we should realize the value of our children having access to good teachers and good education.”

During lockdown, I saw how much work and time our educators had to put forward. Zoom calls were the new normal for K-12 students. I have such a deep sense of admiration and respect for our educators.

According to ABC News, The Teacher Salary Project, co-led by Wilson, supported The American Teacher Act and allowed educators in K-12 public schools to earn no less than the stated sum of $60,000.

The average wage for 22 states in the U.S. sits at around $30,000, or less, according to ABC News. This is an insufficient amount of funding for what teachers are getting done and having to go through. Salary.com reports in Iowa that the average salary is $53,471.

Insufficient funding has led to teacher shortages throughout the country. There have been several hardships throughout the school years, some of which involve the need for larger class sizes and substitute teachers who are asked to fill in for subjects they are not familiar with.

Various schools in the country have also undergone school closures because of educator shortages. This is not only harmful to educators but also for students and the general country at large.

The importance of educators spans far beyond the naked eye. They are one of the strongest foundations in the country. It is time to turn our long-overdue attention to their time and work and give back to them.

According to KCCI, as of August, there have been over 5,000 unfilled teaching positions in Iowa, 1,000 of them full-time. The lack of teachers in Iowa emphasizes the need for higher pay and support.

This bill encompasses the next step in giving educators what they deserve for all their hard work. I emphasize this bill as a next step because there is always more we can do to support our educators.

I am more than grateful for the educators that we have had throughout the years because it is not an easy profession. They deserve not only recognition but sufficient funding and support in what they do.

If the bill passes, we will be doing what we need in the short term to ensure our educators are getting what they need.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.