In a series of news conferences across the state today (Saturday, Feb. 26), Idaho Education Association President Kathy Phelan called upon legislators to pass a resolution that commits them to raising teachers' salaries over the next four years.Phelan
said Senate Concurrent Resolution 111 asks legislators to increase the beginning teachers' salary to $35,000 and the average salary paid to Idaho teachers to $55,000 by the 2008-2009 school year.
"There was a time when it-literally-paid to be a teacher.Unfortunately, that was 65 years ago," Phelan
said that in 1940 teachers earned more than other employees with four or more years of college, but the reverse is true now.Phelan
credited the Legislature for increasing the minimum entry level salary for teachers and, in the past, for allocating enough money to raise the average salaries for all teachers.Phelan
said Idaho's average salaries for teachers have moved from the bottom 10 to the bottom 20 at $41,080.
"But teachers need that support every year, not just in fits and gasps," Phelan
The 2004 Legislature increased the beginning salary to $27,500."It's too early to tell, but we hope that improvement will move Idaho's beginning salaries out of the bottom five in the country.
said, wages for other college graduates increased, too.She
cited the average beginning salaries for several comparable professions.The average beginning salary for chemical engineers in 2004 was $52,539, for computer science majors $49,036, for information sciences and systems $42,375, and for accountants $41,058.
"Why should anyone be surprised that we have a problem convincing young people with an interest in math or science to become teachers?"Phelan
Since the 1990s, Phelan
said, more teachers have left the teaching profession than have entered.One-third of all new teachers leave teaching during their first three years, with one-half departing before their fifth year of teaching.Phelan
said it's possible to predict the teachers most likely to leave early.
"Beginning teachers who did not participate in an induction program are twice as likely to leave and novice teachers who are dissatisfied with student discipline and the school environment are twice as likely to leave," she
In 2000 the Idaho Legislature enacted a comprehensive induction program but has failed to fund it since 2003 and is now considering a bill that would eliminate the program.
"The handwriting is on the wall about what will happen with our new teachers," Phelan
Teachers who stay in Idaho earn less than other Idahoans with similar degrees.During a recent seven-year period Idaho teachers with a bachelor's degree earned an average of $12,240 less per year than others in Idaho with a bachelor's degree, Phelan
The salary gap was even larger for those with an advanced degree.Other Idahoans with a master's degree, on average, earned $18,894 per year more than teachers with a master's degree.
"That's not just a gap-that's the Grand Canyon," Phelan
president noted that many teachers have not received a salary increase in several years because the Legislature has not increased the state's salary allocation base since 2001.Phelan
praised Idaho's teachers for their ability "to do more with what they're given than anybody has a right to expect" and for helping Idaho students "regularly out-perform their peers on just about any measure of student achievement,"
"Idaho teachers don't deserve a salary raise just because other professions earn more money.Idaho teachers deserve a raise because they've earned it," Phelan
recounted the financial plight of several Idaho teachers as examples of the need for salary increases.She
said, "Good salaries help attract and retain good teachers.
...IEA President Kathy Phelan will hold a series of six news conferences on Saturday, Feb. 26, to promote SCR 111, IEA's resolution that asks legislators to work toward a minimum entry-level salary for teachers of $35,000 and an average salary of $55,000 by 2008-09.
Come join Phelan
discusses this legislation during news conferences at these locations:
...Nominations must be sent to IEA President Kathy Phelan by March 11.
..."That's a scurrilous lie," responded IEA President Kathy Phelan.
does not control health insurance decisions in local school districts.Local associations and local school districts decide these matters for themselves."
"We're appalled that David Ripley would try to use Meridian teachers to advance his
political agenda," Phelan
said, "I have no idea why David Ripley would say such a thing.
...If you have questions about the awards or the criteria or you want a nomination form, contact IEA President Kathy Phelan (firstname.lastname@example.org), IEA Executive Director Jim Shackelford (email@example.com), or IEA Manager of Administrative Services Venny Baker (firstname.lastname@example.org).