Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi Want to Fund Education by Dismantling Tax Breaks

Over 25 years ago, when I decided to become a teacher, my goal was certainly not to get wealthy. Teaching was my passion because I worked well with young people, and I loved my subject area — world languages. Above all, I believed that every child had the right to excellent education and instruction.

But while I’ve been lucky to work in school districts where I could survive on my pay check, that’s not true for the 18 percent of U.S. teachers who are driven to take a second job to supplement their full-time salary. 

Here’s why. A USA Today study found that the typical college graduate in 2016 had an average annual salary of slightly more than $50,000. Nurses made roughly $58,000, and accountants earned $52,000. Meanwhile, teachers only received $38,000 per year.

This income inequality is outrageous. Education should be a top priority in any country. It’s important to put excellent teachers in all our classrooms so that every child has the chance to succeed. After all, it benefits our country’s future.

And yet we have a president who seeks to cut the education budget by 5.3 percent for the federal budget year starting on October 1. He aims to eliminate 21st Century Community Learning Centers, a vital resource for after-school learning, and Title II teacher grants, an important professional growth fund for teachers.

Federal spending on public education is only around 8 percent of a state’s education budget, but Trump’s push for budget cuts and his rhetoric provide a model that states have been following: cuts in education funds, resulting in lower teacher pay and less money available for school resources.

That’s why teachers are desperate, and it explains why we’ve seen an explosion of teachers around the U.S. taking to the streets to demand action.

The movement began in February when teachers in West Virginia went on strike in protest at low wages and rising health care costs. It took a couple of weeks, but their action resulted in a 5 percent pay rise — in addition to educators in other states following suit. Teachers in Oklahoma walked out on April 2, demanding an increase in funding and more pay for support staff. They returned to their classrooms after nine days, having been promised a raise of $6,000.

Also in early April, Kentucky teachers organized a statewide sickout, resulting in the closure of schools in 30 districts. Thousands of teachers gathered at the Capitol in Frankfort to protest changes in their pension benefits.

In Arizona, teachers walked off the job on April 26 demanding a 20 percent pay rise — and on May 3, the Arizona governor signed a plan that would give them a 19 percent pay raise. Teachers walked off the job in Colorado on April 27, and returned to their classrooms on May 12 with a 2 percent raise. And on May 16, North Carolina became the latest state to witness teachers striking for better pay.

Teaching is a really difficult job. Anyone who has not stood in front of a class of 35 students for 7 hours a day, acting as instructor, psychologist, behavior manager and comforter — all while keeping an eye on every single child in the room — can possibly understand what that feels like.

But the day doesn’t end there; there’s also the grading and preparation to do once we get home.

Teachers should not be so desperate that they have to strike in order to get the renumeration they deserve.

A Remedy for Low Teacher Pay

Democrats Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi have an exciting new proposal to fix the problem.

The Senate minority leader and the House minority leader announced on May 22 that if the party is elected to the majority in the 2018 midterms, they would:

  • Dedicate $50 billion for states and school districts to increase teachers’ salaries and recruit a strong workforce over the next decade
  • Provide another $50 billion for school infrastructure
  • Ensure that more funds are available for Title 1 programs, which serve low-income children
  • Protect the freedom of teacher to negotiate for better pay and working conditions
  • Work to fund special education.

How will they pay for all this?

“Simple. We’d revisit the Trump tax cuts for the top 1 percent. Instead of allowing millionaires, billionaires and massive corporations to keep their tax breaks and special-interest loopholes, Democrats would invest in teachers and students,” Schumer and Pelosi declared in a statement.

I love this plan because it recognizes the importance of education in our country’s future and commits to investing in teachers as a top priority.

Take Action!

If you agree, please sign this Care2 petition in support of the Democratic plan to fund education by dismantling Trump’s tax breaks.

Creating a Care2 petition is easy. If you have an issue you care deeply about, why not start your own petition? Here are some guidelines to help you get started and soon the Care2 community will be signing up to support you.

 

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

76 comments

Chrissie R
Chrissie R5 days ago

Thanks for posting.

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Jen S
Jen S8 days ago

The entire Trump tax plan should be repealed and a new one reconstructed. And taking the giveaways to the rich to fund education is an excellent beginning.

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Deborah W
Deborah W14 days ago

With all the FAMILIAL POWER TIES in government, business, medical, Hollywood and the media, is it really surprising that the uneducated or disinterested gravitate to the bright and shiny swill that represents today's expanded norms ... while the rest watch in horror?

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Brian F
Brian F15 days ago

Paul B The Trump tax cuts primarily help the rich, and add 1.5 trillion dollars to our debt. Republicans like you always complain about the 20 trillion dollar debt which you created when your war criminal GW Bush invaded Iraq based on lies, and now you add 1,5 trillion dollars to it. Trump is a crook and a liar, who planned to invade Syria to steal their oil. Your comments defending these horrible Trump tax cuts, which primarily benefit the rich, are really disturbing.

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Paul B
Paul B15 days ago

Many rich will pay more in taxes due to the new tax code, especially those in high state tax areas. Other caps will reduce what deductions many rich can take.
The argument that the corporate rate reduction only helps the rich is also a false statement... it helps everyone as we have seen many companies offering increased bonuses and wages.
I am not sure what the "talking point" of ending welfare for the rich even means.

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Carol C
Carol C15 days ago

Quality education for all is essential for a functioning democracy. Getting rid of welfare for the wealthy and using the funds to support and improve education would be a huge step forward toward creating a true democracy.

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Brian F
Brian F15 days ago

We need free colleges. Unfortunately honest progressives who support free colleges, like Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein, are shut out of power by our corrupt corporate owned two party duopoly. The military industrial complex, corporations, and Wall Street have usurped the Democratic party, and both the Republicans and Democrats are the same party, that only represents Wall Street, corporations, and our weapons industry. This is why we need a third party and Jill Stein who support free colleges, and raising taxes on the wealthy.

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Eric Lees
Eric Lees15 days ago

@John
"2) Please further define your meaning with regards to taxes and Democrats - other
then if, you mean that if Corporate Taxes effect their bottom line they will pass the cost onto the consumer - THEY DO THAT ANYWAY.
Otherwise concur with your comment 100%.
John C./Houston, Tx."

The original income tax in 1913 was only for the rich. The more we give the more they want to take, it starts with the rich but always creeps to include the middle class.
All business expenses are included in the cost of goods. That includes raw material, utilities, rent, upkeep, wages, taxes, regulatory compliance. All of that is wrapped up in the cost of goods. So Corporate taxes are a hidden tax passed on to the customers which for the majority of businesses is the middle class.
The Democrats are in trouble because they lack a platform and real leadership.

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Eric Lees
Eric Lees15 days ago

@john casablanca
"Eric Lees - well written comment. However, let me ask you to clarify two (2) points -
1) your comment - 50 different experiments in education will always come up with a better solution than one - I had gone to Catholic grammar and high school and no matter where in the country you went they all had the same curriculum and usually graduated with higher grades then public schools."

Yes Competition is good. Would the Catholic schools stay in business if their education was inferior to public schools? If each state sets the basic requirements while allowing flexibility we will again have innovation in education. Some models will fail and be ditched, states will learn what works from other states. All would improve over time at at a much faster rate than what we have.

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Eric Lees
Eric Lees15 days ago

@David C
"I dream of living in a day when education and teaching are given the same respect and honor that athletes, entertainers, comedians, and reality TV persons are given...….and also given the financial rewards...……..."

Look at Japan, they have learned from the research of the USA on education that we d not use. Such as teachers evaluating other teachers and collaboration to improve the lessen plans. They encourage the kids to think through problems before giving them the answers. They have super star educators that make educational videos and tutors. It's much more of a free market in education.

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