Bernie Sanders Says All Teacher Salaries Should Start at $60,000

Bernie Sanders declared Wednesday afternoon that the starting salary for teachers in the country should be at least $60,000. According to one report, that kind of minimum salary would be much higher than the average salary of teachers in 37 states.

Sanders, an independent senator from Vermont who is currently among the top Democratic contenders for the 2020 presidential race, sent a tweet today that said teacher strikes in various states over the last few years indicate “inadequate wages” for the nation's educators.

“The historic teacher strikes of the past few years have showed us that teachers are paid totally inadequate wages,” Sanders tweeted.

“We're the richest country on Earth and can afford to pay educators decent wages.

“A starting salary for all teachers should be at least $60,000.”

According to edweek.org, the average salary for public school teachers in the country is $61,730. New York teachers top that list with an average salary of $85,889, while educators in Mississippi have an average salary of $45,589.

Though teacher wages went up across the country, the gap between the highest-paid teachers in New York, California, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia remains enormous from those at the bottom — Mississippi, West Virginia, new Mexico and Florida, according to this latest report.

Oklahoma's average teacher salaries went up substantially after a nine-day walkout in the spring of 2018.

In Mississippi, the starting salary this school year for a public school teacher with zero years of experience and the lowest level of certification was $34,390, according to the Mississippi Department of Education. A $60,000 starting salary would be a jump of $25,610 for someone with no experience and the lowest level of certification — or a 75 percent pay raise.

Currently for a teacher to make $60,000 in Mississippi, they must have 26 years experience with the highest of four certification levels.

Then again, a report by thebalancesmb.com indicates Mississippi is the “most affordable” state in the country to live. The most affordable states list, for the most part, correlates with the list of states with lower average salaries of public school teachers.

Public schools are most often paid for by taxes. And with a hefty pay raise across the board for the nation's teachers, it would mean local taxes would most likely rise as well.

In Texas, for instance, property taxes foot the education bill, and some of the wealthier school districts must pay back into the state to cover costs of the less-affluent districts in what's called the "Robin Hood" tax in the Lone Star State.

The idea pitched by Sanders fits the issues, or his platform, as laid out by his campaign website. This includes health care for all, college for all, jobs for all, expanded social security, the Green New Deal and other issues for the self-proclaimed socialist Democrat.