In the midst of a year of teachers’ strikes across the nation, Texas teachers got good news on Monday when a Senate committee advanced a bill that would give all full-time teachers an annual pay raise of $5,000.
The state senate can now take up the proposal, The Texas Tribune reported, although some educators called for raises for other school staff and more flexibility with how they use additional funding.
“This one bill is the bill we’re choosing to put out there first because it deals with who we think is the No. 1 factor, besides the parent, in our child’s education,” said the bill’s author state Sen. Jane Nelson, the Tribune reported.
A demand for higher salaries has played a role in educators from Oklahoma and Arizona to Los Angeles and Denver to go on strike in the last year. Teachers in North Carolina sparked a national movement in February 2018 and picketed again last week. In Oakland, Calif., teachers are in an ongoing strike saying they do not make enough to live in the expensive Bay Area.
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Some educators have also successfully advocated for additional resources and smaller class sizes.
The Texas proposal would prevent school districts from decreasing teacher salaries in the future, the Tribune reported, and cover increases in teacher pension costs.
Kindergarten teacher Marianne Eckley told the Tribune a pay raise could reduce the number of jobs she has to work. She says she juggles three jobs during the week and one in the summer.
“My family gives up so much,” Eckley told the Tribune. “And I would never give up the teaching profession, but it is very hard every year to commit, thinking I’m hurting my family and hurting my future.”
Some advocates opposing the proposal said they would prefer more local control over additional funding, the Tribune reported. One told the Senate committee that districts could use the money to recruit teachers for subjects they have shortages in, the Tribune reported.