The long-smoldering crisis of teacher shortages across the United States accelerated to a five-alarm fire during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Low pay and the gap between teacher pay and that of other similarly educated professionals is one of the primary factors contributing to this shortage. The escalating crisis impacts student learning and the professional status and economic security of teachers, almost three-quarters of whom are women.
The U.S. Department of Labor must use its regulatory authority to raise compensation standards in the teaching profession, NEA argues in a white paper.
The Department can do so by rescinding its antiquated regulation that lumps teachers in with doctors and lawyers as the only professionals who are categorically excluded from the protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
By rescinding the teacher exclusion regulation, the Department of Labor can put a floor under teacher compensation nationwide and ensure that teacher salaries, like those of other professionals, meet the salary test for them to be exempt from overtime pay.