Give our teachers adequate pay, not guns

Kailey James, Staff Writer

Teachers from Oklahoma and West Virginia have gone on strike for a raise in pay during the last few months. The West Virginia teacher’s strike was statewide. These teachers have not received an across-the-board raise since 2014 and were annually earning $45,622.

Taking in the effects of inflation, this is hard to fathom. Historically, teachers have
always been underpaid. With this in mind, the average salary for teachers in Minnesota is $56,268. Starting teachers earn more than $20,000 fewer than that. These people are teaching children and shaping them into the people they will grow to be. Sure, it is the parents’ responsibility, but children are spending the majority of their time with teachers. So with all this put on our teachers, should they not be paid for all they do?

According to “Huffington Post,” the income needed to live comfortably in Minnesota is $64,170. Our teachers are not being paid enough to even live comfortably. This does not include many teachers who may be single parents trying to support their families. I think we can all look back on our time from kindergarten to high school and think of a teacher that has impacted our lives. But with these teachers being underpaid, lacking essential materials for teaching and facing budget cuts, it makes it hard to be that impactful teacher children need.

Washburn High School here in Minnesota is facing a $1.6 million budget cut. It is said that Washburn’s non-teaching staff is going to feel the biggest hit from this cut, meaning the high school will be losing a large number of its security, counselors and operating budget. Health insurance has always been a struggle for teachers. Schools with budget cuts and lack of money have not been able to provide sufficient insurance for their teachers.
Out of all the professions, we should be allowing our teachers to live a healthy life and be able to afford going to the doctor when needed. This is especially a problem in more rural areas where funding is low. With teachers being underpaid, budgets being cut and educators lacking quality insurance, the president wants to put guns in the hands of these teachers and in our schools. The amount of money it would cost to train and then arm these teachers could be used in so many better ways.
When breaking down the cost of how much all this would cost for the 3.6 billion teachers in the United States, it creeps just past $1 billion dollars. Where would this money come from? Currently, the United States’ debt exceeds $18 trillion and is expected to surpass $19 trillion by 2019. Not to mention that we would be putting a huge weight on the already strained teachers of this country. Not only do they have to teach and prepare
their students for the world ahead of them, but must carry a gun and be prepared for combat at anytime? That money could be used in so many more useful ways.
Overall, education is important. We should treat it as a priority. We should pay our teachers what they deserve, encourage future teachers and provide appropriate materials. When teachers stand up for something, we must listen.

This article first appeared in the Friday, March 23, 2018, Edition of The Echo.