Education Week has a story about how states that were planning investments in teacher compensation are now abandoning them in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The article mentions Tennessee, and Gov. Bill Lee’s preference for funding a voucher scheme instead of investing in teachers.
Just as the movement to pay teachers more money was gaining political steam, the economic fallout from the coronavirus is jeopardizing most of this year’s statewide initiatives to increase salaries, according to an Education Week analysis.
In recent weeks, lawmakers in Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee, many citing a potential recession, have significantly reduced the pay bumps that teachers were expecting to get. In Kentucky, a much-anticipated $2,000 raise might get scrapped altogether. And in at least five states, proposals for teacher salary increases are in limbo as legislatures have either suspended their sessions or are retooling state budgets to account for the economic crisis.
“In the midst of a pandemic, you try not to put too much focus on that, but educators are very concerned about this decision,” said Tikeila Rucker, the president of the United Education Association, which represents teachers in Memphis, Tenn., of the governor cutting the proposed bump in the state’s contribution to teacher salaries from 4 percent to 2 percent. “It feels like a disservice to the people. … We’re already underappreciated, overworked, underpaid, and undervalued, and when there’s a need to make a cut, it feels like we’re dispensable.”
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