Will Kamala Harris’ proposal to increase teacher pay be enough?

Kamala Harris’s ambitious teacher pay proposal

Democratic presidential hopeful and California Sen. Kamala Harris has unveiled a new plan to increase teacher pay by $13,500 nationwide. According to her campaign, the plan would cost $315 billion over 10 years, and would be paid for by adjusting the federal estate tax and closing loopholes for the wealthiest Americans.

“I think there is no question that we all know there are two groups of people who are raising our children — that’s our parents, which can be grandparents, aunties and uncles, and it’s our teachers. So let’s pay them their value,” Harris told “CBS This Morning.”

Teacher walkouts have happened recently in cities like Los Angeles, Denver and Charleston, West Virginia. But researcher and author Dr. Lois Weiner told CBSN it’s important to remember teachers are not just concerned about pay. There needs to be a focus on how much money is allocated for each student.

“I think that when you talk to teachers about what they want, it comes down to the schools being funded adequately and better than they are,” Weiner said. “Nobody wants a salary increase if it means kids are gonna be in classes of 40 or 50. Nobody wants a salary increase if it means that aids are going to be laid off. Nobody wants a salary increase if it means their health care costs are gonna go up.”

Weiner also said more attention should be paid on the current reliance on property taxes to fund public education.

“If we’re gonna talk about improving education across the board, including for low income kids of color, we have to talk about getting rid of the property tax and having equalization formulas so that every state pays the same amount per pupil for every child. And that means the federal government has to step in with big money,” Weiner said.

Some districts have dealt with teacher shortages as more educators leave their profession for higher paying jobs. At the same time, fewer college students are studying education. According to the Learning Policy Institute, enrollment dropped by 35 percent between 2009 and 2014. Turnover can be even worse in low-income districts, where a lack of resources makes it difficult to attract new teachers.

Kamala Harris on $13,500 teacher pay raise proposal: “Let’s pay them their value”

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