Today’s Solutions: July 01, 2022

Education is vital for the continued prosperity of our society, and we believe it’s important that those educating our future citizens should be compensated fairly. 

At an elementary school in Santa Fe on Monday, surrounded by teachers and schoolchildren, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico signed into law a $10,000 minimum salary increase for teachers and counselors. The increase in pay will come with other benefits, such as pensions. 

“We have to pay our educators a salary that is commensurate with their incredible … experience, education and the fact that they are working more than full time supporting their students,” Lujan Grisham said to The Journal Times. 

This comes at what seems like an endpoint in a drastic educator shortage in the state. Before this significant teacher pay increase, the state of New Mexico was looking to fill over 1,000 teaching positions and incentivize new hires. The New Mexico National Guard was even called in to be substitute teachers in some schools. The new rules would help largely by benefitting teachers just starting out, giving them a livable and competitive wage.

Trends toward great educator compensation? 

This comes on a slow but noticeable trend of teachers’ salaries increasing across the United States. Other states, such as Mississippi, see the value in education and are compensating their educators to maintain their public schools’ effectiveness. In state legislatures where educator-pay-increase bills are being passed, like New Mexico, it’s an encouraging fact that the bills receive widely bipartisan support.

Research has found that higher salaries for teachers lead to a higher teacher retention rate, a larger number of proficient college students taking education courses and later teaching professionally, an increase in public schools hiring top-performing teachers from private schools, and even improvement in student performance. Not only that but better education also means a better future for children in public schools which has been linked to a reduction in crime and paths to greater prosperity in general. 

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