Math Problem

Hamilton County has a problem. It’s a problem that plagues school districts across Tennessee. It’s simple: Teacher compensation isn’t what it should be. NewsChannel9 has the story of a group of teachers collecting data to demonstrate the dollar value of uncompensated time and expenses:

Dozens of Hamilton County teachers say they’ve done the math, and what they’re making versus what they’re spending on school doesn’t add up.

“If those averages apply to the entire county, we’ve got about $2.5 million in uncompensated time and expenses that we’ve given,” said Brock.

This shortfall is occuring in a state where teachers earn about 30% less than similarly-trained professionals:

This year’s results indicate a national average teacher pay gap of 23.8%. Tennessee’s gap is 27.3%. That’s an improvement of two points for Tennessee, which had a gap of 29.3% two years ago.

Of 12 Southeastern states, Tennessee ranks 8th in teacher pay gap — that’s up one place from 9th two years ago.

The teacher compensation crisis in Hamilton County is similar to what’s playing out all across a state that has historically not invested in teachers. In fact, this year, Governor Lee made a big investment in charter schools and a relatively small boost to teacher compensation through the BEP. Additionally, Lee is fast-tracking his expensive voucher scheme, using funds that could be used to invest in public schools and teacher pay.

Will the Hamilton County legislative delegation continue to support a Governor whose policies are leaving teachers and public schools behind?

For more on education politics and policy in Tennessee, follow @TNEdReport

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