California Democrat Kamala Harris, who is running for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in the 2020 election, plans to advocate for higher teacher pay as part of her platform, Politico is reporting. The senator wants an increase in federal spending on education to make up the difference.
Harris arrived in Houston on Saturday for rallies throughout the city, including one at Texas Southern University, as KRIV-TV reports. Expected to be at the top of her list of things to talk to her supporters about, as noted by an unidentified campaign aide speaking on condition of anonymity, is the need to beef up teacher pay, as well as to close the gaps between what male and female teachers make, and what white and black teachers make.
As of this writing, Harris has not revealed the specifics of her education plan, which is expected to surface next week. However, Harris does believe that the top priority for the government, when it comes to education spending, should be closing the gap between what teachers earn versus what other college-educated professionals earn. Nationwide, the gap is 11.1 percent, whereas in Texas, it is as high as 20 percent. She cites a 2017 study by the Economic Policy Institute as her source for those figures.
In a Twitter post, Harris called America’s spending on its public school teachers a “national failure.”
“In America, public school teachers are paid about $13,000 a year less than other college graduates. That could be mortgage payments or the cost of groceries for a family for a year. It’s a national failure. It’s time we give America’s teachers a raise.”
Adjusted for inflation, says Politico, the average teacher actually earns $1,000 per year less than they did 30 years ago.
Besides the pay gaps between teachers and their professional colleagues in other fields, there are other gaps in teacher pay that need to be addressed as well, she says. For example, on average, black teachers earn $2,700 less per year than white teachers, and female teachers make $2,000 less than their male colleagues.
Harris’ teacher pay plan is one of several “pocketbook” issues favored by the majority of the Democrats who are currently running for their party’s nomination. Rather than run against Donald Trump, most Democratic candidates have instead been focusing on their own platforms, many of which are aimed at improving the lives of everyday Americans. Harris’ tax plan, for example, includes a $500 monthly stipend for some lower-income Americans.
Similarly, her agenda includes Medicare for all and federal legalization of marijuana.