Sanders Bill to Raise Teacher Pay Could Be Funded by Taxing Rich Estates

Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced this week that he’ll quickly introduce laws to set the minimal annual wage for U.S. public college lecturers at $60,000, a change the senator stated may very well be absolutely financed with progressive modifications to the property tax.

At a town hall with educators and union leaders, Sanders known as low trainer pay a nationwide “disaster” that has gotten considerably worse throughout the coronavirus pandemic, which has positioned large extra pressure on college workers throughout the nation.

A survey launched final 12 months by the Nationwide Schooling Affiliation (NEA) discovered that 55% of U.S. educators are contemplating leaving the occupation sooner than that they had deliberate, citing pandemic-related stress and burnout in addition to insufficient pay.

“In America at present, a whole lot of hundreds of public college lecturers are pressured to work two or three jobs throughout the college 12 months. Perhaps they’re driving an Uber. Perhaps they’re ready on tables. Perhaps they’re parking automobiles,” Sanders stated. “Within the richest nation within the historical past of the world, we now have bought to do higher than that. It’s time to finish the worldwide embarrassment of America rating twenty ninth out of 30 international locations within the pay center college lecturers obtain.”

The Vermont senator, who chairs the higher chamber’s Well being, Schooling, Labor, and Pensions Committee, stated his Pay Academics Act would “triple” funding for low-income faculties, “guarantee all beginning lecturers throughout the nation are paid no less than $60,000 a 12 months,” and increase the salaries of these “who’ve made educating their occupation — engaged on the job for 10, 20, 30 years.”

As Schooling Week noted Tuesday, the typical beginning wage for U.S. lecturers is lower than $42,000 a 12 months. Sanders stated throughout the city corridor that “43% of all lecturers in America make lower than $60,000 a 12 months.”

Sanders estimated that his laws would value $450 billion over the subsequent decade, precisely how a lot his proposed estate tax overhaul would elevate. The invoice, titled the For the 99.5 P.c Act, would impose a 65% prime tax fee on estates value greater than $1 billion and scale back the property tax exemption to $3.5 million, down from round $13 million.

“If we are able to present over a trillion {dollars} in tax breaks to the highest 1% and enormous companies, please don’t inform me that we can’t afford to guarantee that each trainer in America is paid no less than $60,000 a 12 months,” the senator stated. “If we are able to spend near $900 billion final 12 months on the navy, greater than the subsequent 11 nations mixed, please don’t inform me that we can’t guarantee that each trainer in America is handled with dignity and respect.”

In keeping with recent research from the Financial Coverage Institute (EPI), “lecturers are paid much less (in weekly wages and complete compensation) than their nonteacher college-educated counterparts, and the state of affairs has worsened significantly over time” — a spot that has been dubbed the “trainer pay penalty.”

“The common weekly wages of public college lecturers (adjusted just for inflation) elevated simply $29 from 1996 to 2021, from $1,319 to $1,348 (in 2021 {dollars}),” EPI discovered. “In distinction, inflation-adjusted weekly wages of different faculty graduates rose from $1,564 to $2,009 over the identical interval — a $445 improve.”

EPI harassed that “offering lecturers with compensation commensurate with that of different equally educated professionals just isn’t merely a matter of equity however is important to enhance instructional outcomes and foster future financial stability of employees, their households, and communities throughout the U.S.” — some extent Sanders echoed throughout his city corridor handle.

“Elevating trainer salaries to no less than $60,000 a 12 months and making certain aggressive pay for all of our lecturers,” Sanders argued, “is likely one of the most essential steps we are able to take to handle the trainer scarcity in America and to enhance the standard of our public college methods.”

A fast message earlier than you retain studying

We’re proud to publish actual information three hundred and sixty five days of the 12 months, fully freed from cost to our readers. However producing high-quality, unbiased work just isn’t cost-free – we rely closely in your assist.

When you discovered the piece above helpful, informative, or inspiring, please contemplate supporting Truthout with a tax-deductible donation. A present of any measurement makes a distinction and helps maintain this distinctive platform alive.