WASHINGTON — As schools grapple with severe and chronic educator shortages, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, who serves as chairman of the Senate’s health, education, labor, and pensions committee, introduced the Pay Teachers Act today. The legislation calls to pay teachers a minimum of $60,000 a year and completes a similar effort in the House, the American Teacher Act, which was reintroduced in the new Congress by Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Florida, and Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-New York.
Last year, the National Education Association released a white paper outlining research-based solutions to help mitigate the educator shortage crisis gripping the nation’s public schools. The report provides a wide variety of long-term strategies and solutions that are effective at recruiting and retaining educators and, most importantly, reflect the needs and priorities of educators themselves. A nationwide survey by the NEA revealed that 55 percent of educators are considering leaving the profession earlier than planned.
The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Becky Pringle:
“Students of every color, background and ZIP code deserve qualified and caring educators who are dedicated and have the resources to uncover the passions and potential of every child. America’s schools are facing a five-alarm crisis because of the educator shortages that have been decades in the making and exacerbated by the pandemic. Together, we must recruit large numbers of diverse educators into the profession and retain qualified and experienced educators in our schools to support our students in learning recovery and thriving in today’s world. To do that, we must have competitive career-based pay to recruit and retain educators.
“On behalf of the 3 million members of the National Education Association, I thank Chairman Sanders for introducing the Teacher Pay Act that would ensure a $60,000 starting salary for every teacher as a critical first step to ensure all our students have the committed educators they need to thrive. We urge Senators to support educators and cosponsor this common-sense legislation that invests in our students, educators, and public schools.”
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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, students preparing to become teachers, healthcare workers, and public employees. Learn more at www.nea.org.