After four long years without a cost of living adjustment raise, Alabama teachers may be getting some relief in the near future. The proposed increase would be 1% for K-12 teachers. According to WKRG News 5, Alabama Superintendent of Education Tommy Bice is trying to work the raise into the 2013-2014 budget. Governor Robert Bentley is supporting the idea as well.
Alabama ranks 31st in terms of average teacher salary. On average, teachers make about $47,803 a year, with a starting pay of around $39,210. To put those numbers into perspective, the US median income from 2006-2010 was $51,914 according to the US Census bureau. The median income for Alabama in 2011 was $42,590. In the US, teachers earn about 60% of the average pay for a comparable job requiring a four year degree.
Considering the importance of their jobs, teachers are woefully underpaid. In other countries they are paid more, and the position is viewed with much more prestige. Education has always been important, but in an age where low skill manufacturing jobs have been off shored to foreign countries it has become even more so. Most good jobs now require a college degree.
The US is falling behind in education. If we are to compete in the global economy, we must make sure we offer the best education possible to our students. Teacher pay is not the main factor holding back our education system, but it certainly isn’t helping. We need properly paid, highly motivated teachers to make the system work. Their job is vital to our nation’s future.