TEXAS — Rep. James Talarico (D-52) focused on the importance of teachers wages in a bill he filed on Thursday.
Talarico, who taught in a middle school classroom on San Antonio’s West Side, recalled his experience as a public school teacher in a Twitter thread to support the filing of HB 3580 that would increase every Texas teacher’s minimum wage to $70,000 per year.
“My coworkers drove Ubers at night and sold their blood plasma for extra money,” the tweet reads.
When I was a public school teacher, I struggled to make ends meet.— James Talarico (@jamestalarico) March 11, 2021
My coworkers drove Ubers at night and sold their blood plasma for extra money.
Today I filed a bill mandating a minimum salary of $70,000 for every teacher in Texas. #txlege pic.twitter.com/Kk8NuxxVNI
In the state’s last session, Talarico was part of House Bill 3, which gave a $3,000 raise to teachers across Texas.
“Nationally, teachers make 20% less than other college-educated workers with similar experience. In Texas, teacher salaries are $5,700 behind the national average,” the Twitter thread continues.
According to the Texas State Teachers Association, 40% of teachers work another job during the school year and 94% of teachers spend their own money on classroom supplies.
Talarico is not the only politician focused on raising the minimum wage for American workers, as congressional Democrats recently fought to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 as part of the American Rescue Plan, but that piece of the legislation was ultimately removed before receiving its final vote. But, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others have said they will continue to fight for that mark.
“Why focus on teachers? Teachers are THE most important profession. Without them, there would be no other profession. Instead of just calling teachers 'heroes,' let’s pay them like heroes,” Talarico says in his final tweet in the thread.
Teachers have been a main topic of discussion throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, as they have rapidly adjusted to virtual learning and many are already back in socially distanced classrooms wearing PPE. President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan also heavily focuses on funding for education.
Why $70,000?— James Talarico (@jamestalarico) March 11, 2021
Research indicates a $70,000 - $75,000 salary is the baseline income needed for emotional well-being.
Just ask @DanPriceSeattle.