Help teachers get better salaries

Feb. 25—If you missed it this week, The Joplin Globe published a seven-part series compiled by reporters across parent company CNHI focused on the national teacher shortage.

This series addressed several questions such as how many teachers leave education each year and why. The series also examined the ways that stakeholders, including state legislators, school districts, and the public could help to stem the turnover.

Missouri is not exempt from this problem. According to data from the Missouri State Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 40.5% of Missouri teachers have left their schools after three years.

The CNHI report revealed that teacher turnover is largely caused by low pay. It’s a clear place to begin when searching for solutions. According to the National Education Association (NAEA), Missouri ranks 50th nationally for average teacher starting pay. It pays new educators an average $33,234, ranking it 50th.

The situation sounds dire — and that’s because it is. The role of school teacher is the most important in public society. This person literally teaches the next generation how to be productive and knowledgeable members of their community. What does this mean for our students?

This country and this state must take better care of their teachers. Missouri has already done some good things. Republican Governor. These priorities were identified by Mike Parson’s State of the State address last Month.

The budget proposal of Parson would allocate $32 Million to the Career Ladder Program to increase its size. It provides additional salary support to teachers to help them with extra responsibilities or voluntary work outside of the classroom. Parson reported that nearly 140 school districts participated in the program, as well as more than 11,000 former school teachers.

Parson’s budget proposal would also continue the Teacher Baseline Salary Program, which raised teacher salaries in eligible school districts from $25,000 – $38,000 per annum. Parson stated that 356 Missouri school district participated in the program, which provided more than 6,000 teachers with pay increases.

These two programs are great steps in the right direction towards compensating teachers better for their work. They should be extended. These allocations should be supported by lawmakers, who should also look for more ways to prioritize funding public K-12 education when they create their state budget.

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