Pay Teachers What They Are Worth

Bring up Teacher Pay, and there are two types of reactions; “They don’t get paid enough!” or “They only work part time, why should they get more than I make?”.  As a teacher of over 30 years, I can explain why our Teachers need more pay, and why they deserve more for all they do.

Let’s look at a teacher’s current pay in Indiana.  I will use the numbers from a teacher’s pay stub from a town in Southwest Indiana that was shared with me.

Salary: $32,350/26 pays


Tax Withholdings




Life Insurance




Net Pay


Monthly Net Pay Net pay x 2


Monthly Expenses


Apartment rent


Car Payment


Student Loan Payment


Child Care


Utilities/Gas/Credit Card, etc.


Monthly Expenses


This is a 3rd year teacher with a Master’s degree.  She gets child support of $225 per month, which pays for her childcare, but she still does not make enough money to meet her monthly expenses or buy groceries.  This teacher has had several second jobs recently, one at a McDonalds, and another as a virtual English teacher for Chinese children but lost both due to Covid.  She just started sewing masks for a company out of state and makes $2 per mask.  She usually works for 2 to 4 hours every evening after her son is in bed or will work about 10 to 12 hours on a weekend to produce at least 100 masks per week to make up the deficit.  This extra work is in addition to the 3 or more hours beyond her time she puts in at school to keep up with teaching online and in person.   This teacher has applied for two jobs in Illinois and one in Kentucky.  Both would pay her at least $4,000 more per year and have lower insurance premiums.  She has two interviews this week and tells me she will leave at the end of the semester if offered one of the other jobs. 

Teachers are a valuable resource that cannot be taken for granted.  Our Governor could do something about teacher pay, but he always says we have to “study it,” “look at it,” “consider all options.”  Our current leadership in the GOP controlled legislature has no intention of paying Public School teachers what they are worth and is not even interested in keeping them in Indiana.  Teacher pay can be raised just by eliminating the costly standardized testing that is useless for evaluations and for remediation for students saving around $200 million per year.  Ending voucher payments for private schools that refuse to be accountable for their students’ progress and how they use their state funds would put hundreds of millions back into the General Education fund to pay teachers a living wage.  It is time for a change in leadership and time to show our Teachers that they are a valued part of our community.






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