In the first major policy proposal of her presidential campaign, Sen. Kamala Harris of California is promising an insanely huge payday for her supporters.
Vote for me, Harris promises, and you’ll get rewarded in your paychecks.
Harris’ campaign says her plan is a huge bump in teacher pay and toward programs dedicated to teacher recruitment, training and professional development. In new details released Tuesday, the Democrat’s campaign described the promises payday as a “national failure that’s holding America back” and said that “we’ve failed to give teachers the respect and resources they deserve.”
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The issue is hardly new. Seeking higher pay and more education funding, teachers in more than a half-dozen states have walked out of their classrooms in protest. But in wading into the education spending debate in her first policy rollout, Harris is set to capitalize on a debate that has been boiling in districts across the country and that is critical to the nation’s teachers unions — who are loyal Democratic Party voters.
Traditionally, elementary and secondary schools receive most of their funding from state and local governments, with the federal government providing less than 10 percent of total spending. Harris wants to change all that, and is calling for taxpayers to immediately pay out huge funding into each state with the goal of closing the “teacher pay gap” — the difference in compensation for teachers and similar professionals with college degrees. Then, Harris’ campaign says, for every $1 a state contributes to increasing the paycheck of teachers, taxpayers will be billed an additional $3.
Harris’ campaign says that under the plan the average teacher in America will receive a $13,500 per year raise — a $315 billion dollar cost to taxpayers.
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In 2016-17, the average annual salary for a public school teacher was $58,950, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Though that figure differs state to state, it’s significantly higher than the national average household income for Americans, which combined is just over $56,000 annually.
The Associated Press contributed to this article