Sanders calls for minimum salary of $60,000 for public school teachers

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)
Greg Nash
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) arrives for a press conference on Tuesday, February 7, 2023 to discuss rising child care costs.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called for a minimum salary of $60,000 for public school teachers, capitalizing on the push by President Biden in his State of the Union speech to give public school teachers a raise.

“We should be paying public school teachers a minimum of at least $60,000 a year,” Sanders said at a town hall at the Capitol on Monday night with national teachers union leaders. “I am proud to tell you I will soon be introducing legislation to do just that.”

Sanders’s call for a minimum salary for public school teachers comes after Biden made a pitch for a number of education policies during his State of the Union, including providing increased access to preschool and giving teachers a raise.

“If you want to have the best-educated workforce, let’s finish the job by providing access to preschool for 3- and 4-years-old,” Biden said in the speech. “Let’s give public-school teachers a raise.”

Sanders blasted the pay of public school teachers in the U.S., and cited rising levels of stress and increasing trends of teachers quitting as the reason why the federal government needed to support them.

Sanders was joined by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) at the event, who co-signed the idea of raising teacher pay. 

“We need higher wages for teachers, for teaching assistants, for early educators, for paraprofessionals,” Markey said. “We have to do something about it. … We don’t have a choice.”

Lawmakers in the House introduced legislation late last year to increase the minimum wage of teachers in the U.S. to $60,000. The American Teacher Act, sponsored by Reps. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) and Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), would encourage states to raise their minimum salaries for teachers through a federal grant program.

Tags Bernie Sanders Bernie Sanders Biden Ed Markey Ed Markey Frederica Wilson Jamaal Bowman President Biden State of the Union Teacher raise The American Teacher Act United States House of Representatives United States Senate

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