Raising the Minimum Wage

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RESPECT: At least $45K annually for every teacher

“To have great schools, we need to attract great teachers, and it is time to increase teacher salaries. Over the past 30 years, the teaching profession has gotten much more challenging, the student debt burden has exploded, and we’re facing a significant teacher shortage.

“We shouldn’t have experienced teachers who earn less than other professionals with bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and we shouldn’t have highly educated, dedicated people who teach our kids strapped with student loan debt and struggle to make ends meet.”

-  PSEA President, Rich Askey

Keeping pace with other Pennsylvanians

Teachers who earn less than $45,000 have a median salary that is nearly 12 percent less than Pennsylvanians with bachelor’s degrees statewide. Teachers who earn less than $45,000 with master’s degrees have median salaries 44 percent lower than Pennsylvanians with master’s degrees statewide.

Stopping the teacher shortage

There is a growing demand for teachers in Pennsylvania, and fewer young people are entering the profession. The number of Pennsylvania students pursuing education degrees has dropped by 55 percent since 1996 and 40 percent since 2010. And the number of teacher certificates issued by the Department of Education has dropped 67 percent since 2009–10. Increasing the minimum teacher salary can help stop this growing teacher shortage. 

Who does this impact?

  • There are 288 school districts in Pennsylvania where a total of 5,152 experienced educators are earning less than $45,000.
  • 76 percent are women.
  • 1,130 make less than $40,000.
  • Half have more than three years of experience, 20 percent have more than six years of experience, and 26 percent have master’s degrees.

Keeping up with changes in the education profession

A lot has changed in the education profession since 1989.

  • There has been a 23 percent increase in the number of Pennsylvania students receiving special education services.
  • Since 1987, the percentage of Pennsylvania students needing English as a Second Language services more than tripled and since 1989, the percentage of Pennsylvania students with special needs who spend most of their time in regular education classrooms has nearly doubled.
  • Just as important, the demands of professional development for teachers has increased dramatically. Now, teachers need 180 hours or six credits of college-level coursework to keep their certificates current.

Share Your Story

This is a top priority for PSEA because no teacher or college faculty member — people in our most challenging and important professions who have earned bachelor’s and, in many cases, master’s degrees — should be paid less than other Pennsylvanians. The people who educate our children shouldn’t struggle to make ends meet. And the best way to explain this to lawmakers is to tell the stories of real people who have real financial struggles because Pennsylvania’s minimum teacher and faculty salaries are too low. If you have a story, click to share it below — and PSEA will help you tell it.