Education had been at the forefront of the national discussion. National leaders from coast to coast, both Republican and Democrat, have championed the importance of education in regards to the future economic and social success of the United States of America. Yet, teachers across the nation feel unfairly judged by the outcomes of standardized tests, and feel under appreciated and, perhaps more importantly, drastically underpaid. The issue of salary has been especially contentious among the educational community because the average pay does not accurately reflect the importance of the role that teachers and other educational professionals have on our society as a whole. The recent political policies that have been put into place over the last decade have also been a strenuous burden on the educational professional community- this includes the policies that enforce standardized tests and the “No Child Left Behind” policy that was enacted by former president George W. Bush.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a kindergarten or elementary school teacher is $51,380 per year. While the average salary is above the average salary for the ordinary American worker, it is important to keep in mind what it takes to be a kindergarten or elementary school teacher. It is a tough job; this cannot seriously be argued. Even though, teachers may get a summer vacation, the hours it takes to truly dedicate oneself to the job of the teacher more than makes up for the hours they get during a vacation.
There is always a demand for more teachers, as many educational professionals get burned out after doing it for so long. Usually, a kindergarten or elementary school teacher is required to have at least a Bachelor’s Degree in some kind of field. The field of study varies from school district to school district, but many prefer to have teachers that went to a university in order to study education and teaching in particular. But, do to the demand for teachers, some schools are more lax on the degree and tend to care more about the passion and dedication a person is willing to put into educating young children.
Currently there are more than 1.6 million kindergarten and elementary school teachers in the country, and the demand is growing slightly. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics there will be a 17 percent increase in kindergarten and elementary school teacher positions from 2010 to 2020, which is rated at slightly above the average rate of job growths in the United States of America. In other words, from 2010 to 2020, about 281,500 kindergarten and elementary school teacher jobs are expected to be added to the market.
The saying goes that the children are our future, and it is rather obvious that they are. But, American student test scores in many study areas have declined vastly over the last few decades. These days, fewer and fewer students are excelling in key job areas like mathematics and science, which used to be the bread and butter of the American career landscape. Thanks to the recession- among many other factors- the education budget has been slashed, which included many advanced study courses and teacher salaries as well as the arts. During this time, many teachers have found it harder and harder to find steady work and have also found it much harder to accommodate students in the process. While the employment outlook for educational professionals seems constant and secure, the prospects of the quality of work and the salary are not up to snuff for most.
About the Author
Karl Stockton writes on education, career opportunities, employment trends, and current issues.