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Florida Teachers Only Get A Pay Raise After Working For 9 Years — And Then They Only Get An Additional $500 A Year

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students raising their hand in classroom while teacher walks around

A public school teacher and advocate shined a light on the unfair wages that many educators in Florida school districts are subject to.

In a TikTok video, a content creator who goes by the username @teacherpaywithk responded to a comment from a follower who claimed that first-year and ninth-year teachers in Hillsborough County, Florida were being paid the exact same.

Florida teachers are only given a pay raise after working nine years.

In the teacher's response video, she provided evidence to back up the commenter's claim.

Pulling up the 2022-2023 salaries for teachers in Tampa, Florida, she showed that new educators start with a salary of $47,501 and do not see any increase until nine years into their profession. Once they make it to that year, those teachers only see an increase of $500 a year in their salaries.

   

   

"Teachers don't hit $60,000 until [year] 17. That's wild," she said. "You can't raise [the first year] to $60,000 without then adjusting [year] zero through 17/18, and who has the money to do that? It's not these cities, it's not locals, and sometimes it's not even state."

She insisted that in order for teachers to be paid a livable wage, the government must step in and provide funding to these school districts, something that they are failing to do.

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In a follow-up video, she voiced her frustration with the reality that many Florida teachers are only making $47,000 for the first 16 years of their careers, and then during their 17th year, they are allowed to earn a $535 increase.

"You max out at year 20 at barely $50,000. Pay our educational staff more, pay everyone more!"

She voiced her frustration with a proposed bill that would incentivize school districts to increase teacher's salaries to $60,000.

In another TikTok video, @teacherwithpayk explained that she's immensely frustrated with the fundamental misunderstanding that government officials demonstrated with a proposed bill that would increase K-12 teachers' salaries.

Introduced in the House in December 2022, the American Teacher Act directs the Department of Education to award four-year grants to states and, through them, subgrants to local educational agencies to establish a minimum annual salary of $60,000 (adjusted for inflation) for public elementary and secondary school teachers.

While the proposed bill sounds good on paper, @teacherwithpayk pointed out that it's not mandating a $60,000 starting pay, only incentivizing it.

"Right off the bat, there are states, typically red states, that aren't going to take the federal government up on grants like this because they don't care if teachers leave," she said. "They don't wanna pay teachers more. They want to defund and privatize public education."

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Her second issue with this bill has to do with the lack of understanding of how much money it would actually take to accomplish this goal.

Many of the starting salaries for teachers in various states are significantly under $60,000 a year.

"It would take so much money to raise all of these starting salaries to $60,000, and then you'd have to raise all of those other [years] accordingly," she added.

She pointed out that the federal government won't be providing any of that funding, and it will end up falling on states and locals to come up with the money, which they don't have. 

"It's nice for Democrats to say, 'Hey, we're championing teachers,' and it's great to have Dr. Jill Biden championing teachers, but where's the money?" she questioned. "You can't champion us without actually funding public education, and they're not ready to talk about that yet."

If the government and officials refuse to invest in teachers with the right means and resources, then public education will continue to fail children. They are the next generation and without proper education, they won't succeed and the lasting effects will be felt everywhere.

Furthermore, the lack of gratitude and appreciation toward teachers means that more and more of them will inevitably leave their careers. Clearly, we need to invest more of our money and time in public educators and education as a whole.

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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.