Sen. Bernie Sanders, chairman of the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, is hosting a town hall on Monday, February 13th to discuss the looming pay crisis teachers face in the United States, inviting four public school teachers to share their experiences and concerns.
Joining him will be Rebecca Pringle of the National Education Association, Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers, as well as hundreds of educators from around the country who have been invited to contribute questions via an online platform. This important town hall is giving individuals a platform to address what is unfortunately becoming a normalized issue: drastically low wages for manpower that should be respected and compensated. This event is intended to act as a rallying call to educate not only fellow workers but lawmakers in understanding the effects of low wages upon our teachers and communities alike.
“In the richest country in the history of the world, each and every person must be able to get the education they need to fulfil their dreams,” said Sanders. “That means we need the best education system in the world, and that means we need the best teachers. Teachers have one of the toughest and most demanding jobs, and we must stand up and support them. It is unconscionable that over half of educators are thinking about leaving the profession earlier than planned.”
Recent studies show that K-12 public school educators were the most likely to report higher levels of anxiety, stress, and burnout during the COVID-19 pandemic. For the current school year, every state is reporting shortages of both classroom and substitute teachers. The fact that most school districts and states do not provide teachers with a livable and competitive wage is part of the reason people are choosing not to enter the profession and why many are leaving. Research has found that teachers are one of the most important factors in improving students’ outcomes, and our nation has much work to do to ensure all students are taught by fully qualified and well-compensated teachers.
At the town hall, Sanders will hear directly from educators on the impact of low teacher pay and low teacher morale, among other challenges teachers are facing today. This important event will take place at the Capitol Visitor’s Center Congressional Auditorium at 6:15 p.m. ET, followed by remarks from Sen Sanders, NEA President Rebecca Pringle and AFT President Randi Weingarten beginning at 7:15 p.m ET. Local teachers and other educators are encouraged to attend this event, however those unable to make it can follow along with the livestream of the townhall which will be made available on www.twitter.com/SenSanders and www.facebook.com/senatorsanders pages starting at 6:15 p.m ET on Monday night in order to stay up to date on this critical issue facing so many of our schools today!
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