A lot can change in 38 years. Think thinner TVs, better gas mileage for cars, and phones we carry in our pockets.
You know what hasn’t changed in 38 years? The minimum salary set in Illinois law for an Illinois teacher.
That’s barely believable to me. So much has advanced over the years, but the School Code literally says that a teacher has a minimum salary of only between $9,000 and $11,000 a year, a rate that hasn’t changed since 1980!
And over the weekend, Governor Rauner vetoed a bill that would have raised the minimum salary for Illinois teachers to $40,000 within five years. His veto would preserve that absurdly outdated and underpaid $9,000-$11,000 minimum on the books.
Our teachers and students deserve better. Act now and tell your leaders in Springfield: override the veto to support our students!
The Governor noted that he favors “innovative teacher compensation strategies” like diversified pay for teachers in hard-to-staff schools or subjects. We agree! One positive way to get more bang for our buck in a cost-neutral way is by raising the starting salaries and minimizing end-of-career pay bumps. This bill would help by boosting the starting salaries for all teachers.
Not only that, but it especially stings because Illinois is in the midst of a very real teacher shortage, especially in districts outside Chicago which struggle to attract qualified teachers. A staggering 78% of districts statewide reported a problem with teacher shortages, and 86% have cited fewer qualified applicants for positions compared to five years ago.
Raising the minimum salary for teachers would send a clear message to prospective teachers that they are valued and will be compensated fairly. Tell Springfield: override the veto to help stop our teacher shortage.
Illinois needs to elevate the teaching profession by attracting great people into it and compensating them fairly like the professionals they are. Just think how powerful it would be for our state to be a leader by telling our best and brightest students that they will be guaranteed a living wage – at least $32,076 for next school year and $40,000 for the 2022-23 school year – if they go into teaching.
Our teachers and students deserve the best, not remnants from a time when huge tube TVs and Flash Gordon were the norm.