New Jersey District Asks for 19% Pay Raise, Part of National Trend

A teachers union in New Jersey has pushed for a significant raise in an example of a nationwide movement to increase teacher pay.

Teachers in Jersey City are asking for a pay raise of 19% over the next three years. An increase of that size would add $45 million to the $246 million spent on teacher salaries in the district. However, the New Jersey School Board Association said that on average, teachers in the state receive a pay raise of 2.42%.

New Jersey teachers in 35 schools have been working without a contract for one year now, creating a tense relationship between district officials and teachers unions. Jersey City's stakeholders have met for 18 bargaining sessions now over the past 18 months and have been unable to reach an agreement.

This June, district principals, supervisors and directors received a 6% pay increase over the next 3 years.

Meanwhile in Idaho, a subcommittee for the State Board of Education institute a career ladder tied to tiered licensure, which would raise teacher pay by 26% by 2019-20, ending a current salary grid which offers teacher pay by education and experience.

The plan would put $175 million into the career ladder, raising teacher salaries from $40,000 to $58,000 over the next five years. Minimum teacher salaries would rise from $31,750 to $32,800.

Unless further changes to the state law are set, teachers will still be able to negotiate their salaries each year at the district level.

The current proposal does not provide for growth in benefits or salaries.

In North Carolina, a new analysis using statistics from the National Center for Education Statistics, the US Census Bureau, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, and other groups, showed that the state was ranked worst in the US for teachers.

According to the findings, NC was ranked 51st in change in teacher's salary over 10 years; 48th in per-student funding; 47th for average annual salary; and 40th in safest schools.

"North Carolina needs to invest in its teaching workforce and it cannot be a slow process," said School Superintendent Dr. June Atkinson. "It has to be faster than you've ever done it in the past because we are seeing our teachers stretched to the limit."

And in Texas, school choice is being argued as the answer to quality teachers being paid what they deserve.

Supported by 67% of Texans according to a recent University of Texas survey, the idea would offer more pay to K-12 teachers instead of putting taxpayer money into education as a whole, which would attract K-12 teachers of better quality to public schools.

Currently, the average teacher salary in Houston is $51,000. School choice would allow teachers to negotiate their salaries at several schools, offering teachers the freedom to choose which school best meets their needs.

This would not only increase teacher pay, allow for more spending in the classroom, and improve student education, but also alleviate the feeling of being trapped in a failing school system.

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