After some behind the scenes turmoil before what was called a “subdued” debate on Monday, Louisiana legislators agreed on a package deal to effectively give public school teachers a raise of $1,000 for the 2019-2020 school year. Certified personnel are included, and support workers will see a $500 bump in salary.
In a statement, Governor John Bel Edwards said: “Today’s an exciting day: the first pay raise our teachers and support staff have had in many years has passed the Legislature.”
House Republicans were the main obstacle to implementing the pay raises, mainly due to disagreements over district discretionary budgets.
More money for public school teachers has been a light topic in the Presidential 2020 campaign thus far, with Democratic Senator and candidate Kamala Harris proposing a raise of $13,500 on average and noted progressive Senator and candidate Elizabeth Warren going so far as to suggest picking a school teacher for Secretary of Education.
Last December, a survey of 777 public school teachers found that a vast majority – mostly highly educated and middle-class people – expressed discontent with their positions. News stories of teachers paying for their own supplies have circulated for years, merely scratching the surface of the stress put upon these educators.
Last month, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez went after the notion that “we can’t afford” certain services, like healthcare for all, by going after the sheer amount of money the Pentagon spends on price gouged items:
“…for the cost of your price-gouging of the public on a non-vehicular clutch disk alone, I could have sent 21 kids to college. I could have sent 18 toddlers to free preschool for a year, in the most expensive city in America.”
Certainly, we can afford to give public schools better budgets and our teachers better pay. Certainly.
Bill Arceneaux has been an independent writer and film critic in the New Orleans area since 2011, working with outlets like Film Threat, DIG Baton Rouge, Crosstown Conversations, and Occupy. He is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association and is Rotten Tomatoes approved.