2020 Election Thread: Kamala Harris Is Right About Teacher Salaries

A great thing about having more than one woman in the presidential primaries is that everyone gets to see the Shine Theory“I don’t shine if you don’t shine” — in action. Of course competing politicians have always ‘borrowed’ ideas from each other, but the reality of our sexist society is that too often any individual woman’s voice will be ignored unless/until her ideas are repeated by a man. One way women have learned to beat this prejudice is by speaking up to support each other:

The United States is facing a teacher pay crisis. Public school teachers earn 11 percent less than professionals with similar educations. Teachers are more likely than non-teachers to work a second job. In 30 states, average teacher pay is less than the living wage for a family of four…

The “pay gap” between what teachers earn and what people with similar educations earn is creating disastrous consequences. Teachers are leaving their dream jobs because they can’t make ends meet. Bright college graduates are not choosing this path of service because they need to pay their student loans. Rural schools are unable to fill teaching vacancies while urban schools struggle with high rates of turnover…

Under my plan, the federal government will immediately make an investment in every state to provide the first 10 percent of funding needed to close the teacher pay gap. Then we will support states to do their part: For every $1 a state contributes to increasing teacher pay, the federal government will invest $3, until we fully close the teacher pay gap. States will be required to maintain their investment over time, and increase that amount to cover their share of wage inflation…

The plan will also include a multibillion-dollar investment in evidence-based programs that elevate the teaching profession. Half of this funding would be dedicated to historically black colleges and universities and other minority-serving institutions, because more than 30 percent of all black teachers, and more than 40 percent of all Hispanic teachers, graduate from those schools.

We will pay for this plan by increasing the estate tax for the top 1 percent of taxpayers and cracking down on loopholes that let the very wealthiest, with estates worth multiple millions or billions of dollars, avoid paying their fair share.

Paying teachers for the full value of their work isn’t just a good strategy to improve education — it’s central to building an economy that works for working people. Research shows that attracting and retaining more great teachers would improve student performance, increase graduation rates and lead to higher future earnings for our kids…






64 replies
  1. 1
    Yutsano says:

    She’s making part of her domestic platform known. Good. It’s definitely something the eventual nominee will have to incorporate into her/his platform.* Underfunding education os one of our country’s biggest flaws. The terrible occupant in the Department of Education is another. That woman gotta go.

    *I almost left that as just her, but it’s way early to make predictions like that yet.

  2. 2
    MisterForkbeard says:

    This is one of the first concrete proposals from Kamala that I’ve seen, which is *fantastic*. She’s been making the right noises but not announcing specific policies for the most part.

    This is a really good, high profile way to start your policy push.

  3. 3
  4. 4
    catclub says:

    @Yutsano:

    Underfunding education os one of our country’s biggest flaws.

    Agreed, but presently almost all teacher salaries are paid by the states. Curious how this gets fixed by the Federal gov.

  5. 5
    Anne Laurie says:

    @catclub:

    Curious how this gets fixed by the Federal gov.

    Says right there, in the part I extracted:

    Under my plan, the federal government will immediately make an investment in every state to provide the first 10 percent of funding needed to close the teacher pay gap. Then we will support states to do their part: For every $1 a state contributes to increasing teacher pay, the federal government will invest $3, until we fully close the teacher pay gap. States will be required to maintain their investment over time, and increase that amount to cover their share of wage inflation…

  6. 6
    dmsilev says:

    @catclub: Worse than that, most places teacher salaries are set at the county or municipal level since the money flows from local property taxes. Federal matching grants or credits would, I assume, be the implementation method.

  7. 7
    Jay says:

    @catclub:

    By, as she said, offering States Federal Funding to close the pay gap and hire more teachers.

    States will of course have the choice of opting in, or out.

    And this will create a double incentive as teachers flee Red States that opt out for States that opt in.

    The proposal to add more funding ( under rules) for schools that produce teachers, means that teachers graduate with lower levels of student loans.

  8. 8
    ola azul says:

    Incisive twofer: Correct on policy, even more correct on politics.

    Well done.

  9. 9
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Jay:

    The proposal to add more funding ( under rules) for schools that produce teachers, means that teachers graduate with lower levels of student loans.

    Yes, that’s a key factor. The student loan factor is a big part of the problem for people choosing to be teachers. Bad enough to graduate $100,000 in debt if you’re going into finance or law / medical school. But if you want to work with children, you’re expected to do so for not much more than a daycare attendant… or a dog walker. (And, yes, we should absolutely pay daycare workers more, too!)

  10. 10
    sublime33 says:

    I don’t think this would be game changer in how people vote and there would be a lot of push back in a general election. I’m married to a former teacher who taught in a well funded public school. Many non-teachers gripe that they only work 9 months a year, get to retire early with a generous pension and too many older teachers mail it in because there are no merit pay increases. It’s the same attitude as when a unionized factory went on strike and the locals don’t sympathize because they make less than the union workers.

  11. 11
    Jay says:

    @Anne Laurie:

    Yup, it would be nice if the people who cared for our children, our sick, our elderly, made more money than a gig economy, dogwalker.

    Of course as well, it would be nice if people actually read before doing the hot takes thing.

  12. 12
    Sebastian says:

    Holeeeeeeeeeeeee shit!
    LOOK WHAT JUST POSTED ON TWITTER

    Trump Organization: https://t.co/Zhx2YnVht4— FBI Records Vault (@FBIRecordsVault) March 26, 2019

    For some reason the FBI Records Vault just tweeted the Trump Org file!

  13. 13
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Jay:

    States will of course have the choice of opting in, or out.

    That is the biggest potential stumbling block. And then the fact that, as mentioned above, schools are primarily funded at the municipal and/or county level.

    That being said, it is a worthy goal and I would hope that, if she gets the gig, the wonks figure out how to avoid the stumbling blocks.

  14. 14
    Sab says:

    @sublime33: But in my experience teachers are politically aware, and there are lots of them. Not everyone else votes, but teachers do because their jobs depend on local school levies.

  15. 15
    ola azul says:

    @sublime33:

    Respectfully disagree. If I’s to try’n put forth a more politically active, aware and besieged group a folks, I’d be hard pressed to come up with a better example than ‘Murican teachers in the year a ’18. Teachers been slagged on, disrespected and abused for years. By alla the worst kindsa assholes (stinkeye directed squarely at Betsy “Lettum-Eat-Shit” DeVos, ‘mong others). If you was a pol looking to enlist some a the smartest, fiercest, most loyal and energetic foot soldiers, think you couldn’t do no better’n offering a pay-raise hat-tip to teachers.

    This, to me, is an obvious move that any smart don’t-give-a-fuck-what-david-brooks-thinks pol *should* make, but in the risk-averse continuum of Democratic politics, that ain’t no guarantor of its being advanced. That it is advanced, early and to great fanfare, is very encouraging about the no-more-fucks-to-give attitude of our candidates.

    More like this, por favor.

  16. 16
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Sab:

    But in my experience teachers are politically aware, and there are lots of them.

    And far too many are Republicans.

  17. 17
    karen marie says:

    Mike Lee says everyone should have more children, his party is trying to destoy public education, and then we have Democrats like Harris who step up with sensible ideas about education funding and its broader impact.

    How is it even a choice to vote for anyone but the Democrat?

    Harris really got my attention with this. It’s so obvious but never said out loud – much less directly acted on – by anyone who could potentially start implementing these ideas. I love me some Elizabeth Warren but I could well see being very excited about a President Kamala Harris. Right now my dream ticket would be Harris/Warren or Warren/Harris.

  18. 18
    karen marie says:

    Why am I in moderation?I didn’t say anything bad, I promise!

  19. 19
    karen marie says:

    Duh – I mistyped my email address and, of course, saved it, so I now have two comments in moderation. Hahaha. Sorry!

  20. 20
    Jay says:

    @sublime33:

    Guess you don’t have kids in school.

    There’s a reason why 3rd world nations are outperforming US Public Schools.

    You may have missed all the popular support for the Teachers strikes last year,

    Or the anger over Millionaires buying their ignorant Charter School kids better SAT scores and University placement’s when the privledged little brats just wanted to ditch school and party on yachts.

  21. 21
    Gretchen says:

    This, and Warren’s plans for daycare and student loans. These women are addressing the problems that young families are actually dealing with!

  22. 22
    karen marie says:

    I’m laughing too hard, forgot to fix the typo in my email address before hitting “post” to avoid getting dumped into moderation for a third time. Fourth time’s the charm? You will have to wait for whatever lucky person has the responsibility to fish me out, if there is anyone, to read the brilliance of my first effort that was flushed due to operator error.

  23. 23
    ola azul says:

    @Gretchen:

    It’s almost like — and stay with me here a minnit — by virtue of having experienced the world thru the perspective of being a woman, the female Dem candidates have actual honest-to-FSM real-life proposals to add that seek to redress the historical blind spots a penis-enabled candidate either din’t see or can’t be bothered with.

    Who knew? Whatta concept!

    (Should say, Gretchen, not directing my sarcasm at you; more just using your comment to springboard. Hope you won’t take it askance.)

  24. 24
    Jay says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    On the bright side, there’s a lot fewer ReThugs out there.

  25. 25
    ola azul says:

    @Gretchen:

    It’s almost like — and stay with me here a minnit — by virtue of having experienced the world thru the perspective of being a woman, the female Dem candidates have actual honest-to-FSM real-life proposals to add that seek to redress the historical blind spots a pen1s-enabled candidate either din’t see or can’t be bothered with.

    Who knew? Whatta concept!

    (Should say, Gretchen, not directing my sarcasm at you; more just using your comment to springboard. Hope you won’t take it askance.)

  26. 26
    ola azul says:

    @karen marie:

    If in moderation, one lil factoid I can offer is the most innocuous gambling, pharmaceutical, Russian or sexual ref (e.g. pen1s) can trip you up. Was just reminded of this reality in my last post, fwiw.

  27. 27
    Jay says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    “Donald Trump is wildly popular among Republicans. A recent PRRI poll puts support for the president among members of his party at 80%.

    That large share of Republicans, however, makes up a much smaller piece of the total public: 19%. Meanwhile, Democrats who dislike Trump represent 31% of all Americans, according to the same survey.”

    That was back in August last year.

    https://www.google.ca/amp/s/qz.com/1347030/there-are-fewer-republicans-for-donald-trump-than-you-think/amp/

  28. 28
    Jay says:

    @ola azul:

    Pen1s disabled,……..

  29. 29
  30. 30
    karen marie says:

    @ola azul: It was just me not looking to see if there was a typo in my email address before hitting save and post. Well, it certainly added some hilarity to my evening.

  31. 31
    ola azul says:

    @Jay:

    T’fable a the disabled.

  32. 32
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Didn’t Scott Walker just get tossed out on his ear in part for pissing off teachers’ unions in your state, or am I mininformed?

  33. 33
    ola azul says:

    or am I mininformed?

    Know it were an innocent typo, but can’t help but take occasion to note this is an excellent frame of reference (and wonderful neologism) to identify a significant subset of the voting electorate.

  34. 34
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Jay: That does not negate the fact that too many teachers are Republicans. Many of the ones who are are wives of lawyers, doctors, and executives. The shitty pay and decreasing benefits don’t matter that much to them because they aren’t depending on their teaching salary to keep a roof over their families’ heads.

    FWIW, in the mid-60s, my mother challenged her school district’s policy that men received extra pay because they were supporting families while it was perceived that women were not. At the time, my father was in school and I was a toddler. She argued that she was her family’s primary breadwinner. She got the extra pay. And she helped push for equal pay for all teachers regardless of family status. She stayed a dues paying union member even after schools prohibited from being closed shops.

  35. 35
    West of the Rockies says:

    Anyone know the significance of what Sebastian (comment 12) is linking to?

  36. 36
    Lalophobia says:

    @West of the Rockies: All I’m getting is it seems to be old Trump crimes or suspicious behavior or something? Like, 80’s stuff. Otherwise I’m not sure.

  37. 37
    Jay says:

    @West of the Rockies:

    The FBI Vault is a twitter feed of the FBI that tweets out links to FOIA and released FBI Files.

    Today they dumped massive amounts of PDF’s that the FBI had on the Trump Organization.

  38. 38
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mnemosyne: His opponent, the current governor, was the state’s superintendent of schools.

  39. 39
    Jay says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Over 75% of teachers identify as Democrats,

    YMMV by region.

    http://verdantlabs.com/politics_of_professions/

  40. 40
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Jay: Okay. That means that nearly one out of every four teachers is a Republican. In my opinion that is too many. Does that help?

  41. 41
    Jay says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I know that you think 0% ReThugs is still too large a number.

    No, it doesn’t help much.

    It’s 5% lower than the national average.

    Which is pretty good considering that 50% of Americans are below average when it comes to intelligence.

  42. 42
    Sebastian says:

    @Jay:

    Do you know how FOIA requests are handled? Do they have to fulfil FOIA requests within a certain time or can they stonewall or hasten certain requests?

  43. 43
    NotMax says:

    @Jay

    Teacher not listed among the professions on the linked page. Regardless, over 75% seems higher than expected, unless maybe it might not be including private and religious school teachers. Even then, higher than personal experience would suggest.

  44. 44
    Jay says:

    @NotMax:

    Teacher is listed, it’s below the first page, 3/4’s of the way down the second page.

    A few key findings:

    • Forty one percent of respondents described themselves as Democrats while another 30 percent said they were independents. Just 27 percent were Republicans.

    • Half the respondents voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. Another 29 percent voted for Trump. Thirteen percent selected a third-party candidate.

    • By and large, educators aren’t fans of school choice—even if they voted for Trump, who made it a signature issue. A plurality of all those surveyed—45 percent—”fully oppose” charter schools, while another 26 percent “somewhat oppose” them. And 58 percent don’t support using government funds to help students cover the cost of private school, while 19 percent said they “somewhat oppose” vouchers.

    • Forty-four percent of educators said they see the impact of immigration on schools as “mixed,” while another 38 percent said it is a “good thing.” Only 8 percent see it as a “bad thing.”

    https://mobile.edweek.org/c.jsp?cid=25919861&bcid=25919861&rssid=25919851&item=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.edweek.org%2Fv1%2Few%2F%3Fuuid%3D70955002-DE8A-11E7-9F20-9D98B3743667

  45. 45
    Jay says:

    @Sebastian:

    They can stonewall, they can hasten.

    The FBI Vault simply “copy pastes” already released files.

  46. 46
    NotMax says:

    @<a href="https://www.balloon-juice.com/2019/03/26/2020-election-thread-kamala-harris-is-right-about-teacher-salaries/#comment-7238079"Jay

    So, public school teachers only then. Among whom (with over 75% ostensibly identifying as D),

    Half voted for HRC
    42% did not
    and the remaining 8% didn’t vote at all?

  47. 47
    NotMax says:

    @Jay

    This omits the percentage who voted third party but is none the less informative.

    …About one in five American Federation of Teachers (AFT) members who cast a ballot voted for Trump, the union’s leader estimated. Among the larger National Education Association (NEA), which comprises more than 3 million members, more than one in three who voted did so for the billionaire developer, early data show. Source

  48. 48
    Jay says:

    @NotMax:

    That was a single Education Today survey, 2017.

    Not the more comprehensive Verdant labs data collection.

    As we know by now, or should, not everybody in America votes,

    Or is allowed to vote.

  49. 49
    Jay says:

    BT dubs, if you click on the profession, in the Verdant labs, you get a more detailed breakdown by speciality.

    Music teachers are the most ReThug, 35% roughly.

    Health Educators are less than 2% ReThug,

  50. 50
    NotMax says:

    @Jay

    Things sure must have changed. Teaching health classes used to be something dumped on the gym teachers to do.

  51. 51
    Jay says:

    @NotMax:

    Yeah, which kinda splains the US Healthcare system.

    Back in the ‘60’s and still to day, other than Alberta and now Ontario, Healthcare and Sex Ed was taught by RN/Teachers.

  52. 52
    Jay says:

    @NotMax:

    Guess the Music teachers vote more ReThug for their support for the arts,………..

    LMFAO

  53. 53
    sukabi says:

    @West of the Rockies: the FBI released a bunch of documents from the 90’s relating to investigations conducted into drumpf and his organizations. One if the investigations involved Jeanine Pirro renting one of his properties for a campaign event for $250.00…campaign finance fraud…

    That’s the one that’s getting the attention at the moment.

  54. 54
    Jay says:

    @sukabi:

    Yeah, it will take a while for people to dig through and make connections.

    Fuck Adam Silverman for buying up all the yarn and push pins on Amazon.

  55. 55
    maurinsky says:

    Teachers should also have more autonomy. It can be done without sacrificing accountability.

  56. 56
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @asshola azul: I see the Bogus Illiterate Hayseed is back inflicting his fake redneckish typing on us again. Do you hunt&peck too, just to keep in character, you fuckhead?

  57. 57
    catclub says:

    @Jay:

    Guess the Music teachers vote more ReThug for their support for the arts

    I was thinking about the movie where the jazz drum teacher is authoritarian/sadistic.

  58. 58
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Jay: I’d like to see the crosstabs on those results – specifically (& yes, I know this is an unreasonable request) age, marital status, number of years teaching, full vs part time. Absent that information, I will freely (cheaply?) throw out a couple of hypotheses to test:

    Art & music education have typically been the first victims of the budget axe in financially-strapped school systems. Since most of them have been in trouble since the 1980s, I would expect the number &/or percentage of art/music education degrees to have been decreasing for the last ~30 years as students realized their chances of making any sort of living in that field were diminishing[1], and that the number of art/music teachers bailing out would have been increasing – so that as a group music teachers would tend to be older & therefore more Rethuglican. Also, any increase in part- rather than full-time music teaching positions would tend to force out anyone trying to make a solo living, so that those left would tend to be more coupled up with working partners, & probably more likely to have children, & both of those factors tend to skew people to starboard as they age.[2]

    Notes:
    [1]In the early 1970s my younger brother was about to enter college. He & I had a running battle with our father, who wanted him to study engineering when his true calling was art. Dad (whose nickel it was) finally agreed he could major in art – so long as he took enough education courses to qualify as a teacher, because that was his only chance of earning a living with an art degree. As it happened, Li’l Bro wound up a partner in a modestly successful graphic design shop – & (other than substituting while in college) never taught a day.

    [2] Viz. the quote often attributed to Churchill – “Anyone who is not a soshulist at 20 has no heart; anyone who is still a soshulist at 40 has no brain.”[3] To the extent this has any validity, it reflects the notion that it’s easy to contemplate sharing everything if you have little to toss into the pot, but much harder after accumulating economic value (car, house, savings) you might stand to lose & responsibilities (spouse, children, parents in old age) you would need to apply that value to care for & protect.

    [3] And anyone not being turned back into a soshulist by the 21st century has no clue. (my extension)

  59. 59
    J R in WV says:

    @sublime33:

    I don’t think this would be game changer in how people vote and there would be a lot of push back in a general election.

    There are 3.2 million teachers in public schools, won’t count the .4 million in racist private schools. That’s 3.2 million people plus their families working to elect a Democratic candidate, right there. Plus all the parents with kids doing well in school.

    Note that teacher strikes recently worked out well, even in extremely red states like WV and OK(!!) in spite of the traditional right wing nonsense peddled by the politicians who opposed funding public schools and lost.

    So I’m going to say you’re just plain old wrong about how that balances out. Sure there are ignorant teacher-haters out there, those you mention in your comment. How many of those pig-ignorant asses would ever vote for a Democratic candidate, or even know how to register and find their polling place? My bet is not many compared to the number of teachers, their families and successful students’ families.

    Have I seen you comment here before? Comrade? Ah, no, first one evah! I call first russian found today!!

  60. 60
    J R in WV says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    @Jay: Okay. That means that nearly one out of every four teachers is a Republican. In my opinion that is too many. Does that help?

    So you’re assuming that if 25% of teachers aren’t Democrats, they must 100% of them be Republicans? Just Nope.

    I’ll bet a large portion aren’t selecting a political party because they’re government employees OR are actually wild-ass independent people. I doubt if more than 10 or 15% of teachers are actually Rs nationwide. More in WV, OK, places like that where most everyone is a RWNJ, but the vast majority of teachers in places like NY CA or any blue to pur-le state are DEmocratic union members.

    Just my $0.02… and with all due respect!

  61. 61
    sublime33 says:

    If one is to survey teachers political leanings, it is critical to separate public school vs. private school teachers. I mentioned earlier that my wife taught in a well funded and well paying suburban district. My guess is that at least 70% and maybe higher vote with the Democrats. But those in the private sector and charter schools skew much more Republican. And a lot of it I attribute to jealousy of the the higher paid teachers in the public schools. The political divide between public vs. non public teachers is almost as significant as the divide between white Evangelicals and African American evangelicals.

  62. 62
    jonas says:

    @catclub: Not even that: most teachers’ salaries are set by local districts drawing (mostly) on local property taxes. State funding supports specific programs (i.e. special ed) and infrastructure, but not basic expenses like salaries and benefits. If the federal government wants to chip in to raise salaries, that’s great, but if you expect local districts to match funds or something, that has to come from local levies and that’s going to run into the antitax buzzsaw in a lot of places. Conservative voters already feel like teachers get paid too much for six months of babysitting followed by a three month vacation on a tropical beach (seriously — that’s what they think).

  63. 63
    jonas says:

    Re: teachers’ politics — I think it simply maps onto the state/region of the school, public or private. I would venture that most teachers in rural Oklahoma are Republicans, just like their neighbors and fellow church-goers. At at a swanky Upper East Side private school? Probably downright socialist.

  64. 64
    J R in WV says:

    @sublime33:

    According to the stats I search engined up, only 11.76% of teachers are private/charter teachers. I don’t for a minute believe all those teachers are voluntarily being screwed by their schools. Though high-end private (not racist private) schools may draw good teachers…

    I think most of them are teaching there because it was a new school hiring more teachers than the public systems they were applying to work for. I still believe teachers are a large group of people that are a huge plus to the Democratic party’s work to repair the national government.

    @jonas:

    I would venture that most teachers in rural Oklahoma are Republicans, just like their neighbors and fellow church-goers.

    Maybe… but they went on strike not too long ago, and forced their RWNJ legislature to improve funding to the schools, not least for pay raises! That’s not very Republican, if you ask me.

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