Would Americans Support Higher Taxes If It Meant Teachers Were Paid More?

“To educate children and barely get a living is obnoxious.”

Seeing as they educate the future leaders and workers of America, you'd think that teacher pay would be a top priority in the United States. Sadly, as many teachers in Oklahoma and Kentucky have expressed, that's not always the case. Across the country, educators have brought attention to the low pay that has become standard in the teaching profession, with one Arizona teacher, Elisabeth Milich, going so far as to reveal the paltry salary she receives after receiving supplemental training. Teachers aren't alone in thinking they deserve more, as a recent Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll revealed that more than half of Americans support raises for teachers — and 50 percent support increased taxes, if they are necessary to make those raises possible.

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One such supporter shared her feelings with The Associated Press about the plight educators face. "To educate children and barely get a living is obnoxious," Elaine Penman, a company manager from Tucson, Arizona, said, adding that as a parent she benefits directly from the efforts of teachers. Penman's thoughts fall in line with the majority, as 78 percent of the poll's participants also thought that 2016-2017 average public school teacher salary of $58,950 wasn't nearly enough. That number dwarfs the 15 percent who felt that current teacher salaries were adequate and the 6 percent who actually thought that teachers were paid too much. Seeing as teacher salaries have actually decreased in 39 of the 50 states in the past 10 years, the respondents' perspectives are not unexpected.

In addition to supporting teacher raises, the poll also revealed that many — 52 percent, to be exact — were in support of the protests that educators are staging in an effort to rectify the situation.

The issues around teacher pay and school funding have not only inspired educators to make their voices heard, they've also inspired some to become more politically active. Earlier this month, Oklahoma teacher-turned-politician Cyndi Ralston spoke with A Plus about what motivated her to further get involved in the political process. 

"It's gotten to the point where we are not serving our students and not protecting the youngest of our state and giving them the best of what we can give them," Ralston told A Plus. "We have amazing teachers that have decided to stay and do the best that they can with what we have, and we're doing it, but it's just not right."

Cover image via  Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock.

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