Im going to head down a path with a NON- MUSIC post, but this one also affects music educators.
I researched and wrote this in the late winter/spring of 2008. My figures are from 2004 and 2006 but can easily be modified to 2008 stats on salaries. Now these are averages for the nation, but still think of this idea in all states.
The United States is the most powerful country in the world, yet when you compare its education system to those of Europe we are just not up to the standards. Education is the driving force that has built America, without it our country would not have grown into the great country it is today. However, we all know that the education system in this country is under performing.
Although we have lowering drop-out rates, the NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND ACT and standardized tests to help improve our system, we need to fully improve the quality of education in this country for all levels for the K-12 public schools. The education system in Europe is built around quality of its core education and teachers. They achieve this and have an average high school graduate age of 16 years old (in most European countries). In recent years we have had required standardized tests for elementary and middle schools put into effect. These measures seem to not be as effective as we thought they would be. These tests are showing some promising increases in our education system, but it is not improving our education system.
The core of our education system starts with teachers, and the quality of which they teach.
Teachers are some of the most educated people in the country, they are required to obtain graduate degrees to keep their certification, and in a lot of cases they pay for these required classes with their own money. They work 10 hours days with all the planning that they do, and they still do extra work at home. This country has lowered its appreciation for teachers, and needs to get back on track. We cannot improve the quality of education without having the best teachers.
Many teachers that enter the field end up leaving and going into fields outside of teaching just to make a better living. Being a teacher should be one of the best paid careers in the country. The teachers that usually leave the teaching field are some of the best teachers in the field. To keep these teachers in our schools and motivate the quality of current teachers, we need a drastic display of appreciation for our country’s teachers.
To improve the quality of teachers I suggest we improve their pay, by doing so will motivate them, keep more teachers, and lower the teacher turnover rate in this country. I suggest that we show our country’s greatness and appreciation for teachers by giving them a federal income tax exemption. So then teachers will pay no federal income tax, which will increase their annual income by 25%, and thus will help them with affording better housing and transportation.
Since the average teacher salary for 2006 was $44,400 with taxes they only take home $33,300 per year after taxes. There were 3.8 million jobs for teachers in 2004, and with my estimates for 2006 it cost $42,180,000,000 in taxes that were collected from teachers in 2004. Teachers overall compensation from the government is $168,720,000,000. $42 billion is only 1.6% cut from our federal tax revenue of $2.54 trillion dollars annually.
I have done research that shows we can cut billions from the department of defense, the office of personnel management, and raise the federal income tax by (.05%) a percent, and we would make up all the money to tax exempt the teachers.
This plan would put better quality teachers into our schools, and keep them teaching. If this country does not take some drastic steps towards the educations system (especially towards the k-12 levels) the education in this country will worsen.
Thank you for reading...