Salary increase for Florida teachers nowhere near enough

Gov. Ron DeSantis signing salary increase bill in June. Photo courtesy Tampa Bay Times

In June, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill for Florida teachers’ starting salary to increase to a minimum of $47,500. Not only did DeSantis not keep his promise, but their salaries will only increase by $5,800 for a total of $43,304 a year.

This is alarmingly low, especially during the time we are living in now. Teachers are being asked to risk their lives and are still not getting paid what they should.

According to the National Education Association, Florida teachers have a minimum salary of $37,636. However, Business Insider reported that the living wage in Florida is $67,614. Teachers do not even get paid enough to live comfortably, and yet they are tasked with the incredibly hard job of educating the next generation of thinkers.

Blambie Fils is an alumna of Florida A&M University and got her bachelors degree in elementary education. When she was in college, she completed an internship at Bond Elementary School and from that experience learned that teachers do not get what they deserve.

During my field experience and internship, I met many teachers who had second jobs,” Fils said. Some were doing private tutoring while others were working in retail, restaurants, or even being an Uber/delivery driver on the weekends.”

Teaching is not an easy job and it requires patience and passion. People in this profession should be dedicating their time to this but instead are forced to stretch themselves thin with other jobs just to stay afloat. Its not fair to these individuals who have so much responsibility to not be recognized for their hard work.

A huge problem with this $5,800 salary increase is that it does not satisfy teachers who have to teach in-person classes. The COVID-19 pandemic has swept the country, and yet DeSantis is pushing for schools to open again. This means every teacher would be in the classroom potentially exposing themselves to a deadly virus, and yet all they are being offered is a small increase in their salary, one that will take a few weeks to be put into effect.

Fils thinks the salary increase is far from enough for what teachers are expected to do during these times. Not only do they have to worry about health risks, but they still have to do their job which includes creating lesson plans, catering to their students and dealing with parents. It is a lot to handle and all of the weight goes on the teachersshoulders.

“During COVID-19, I feel as though teachers have to put in a lot more effort and do double the work,” Fils said. “There’s a lot more that teachers have to do during this pandemic in order to keep students, parents and administration happy and it’s not worth it to receive $43,000.”

Being a teacher comes with a lot of stress and expectations. They deserve to be appreciated for all of their hard work, especially now. The salary increase is a start, but there is so much more that needs to be done in order for them to live comfortably, like they should be in the first place.