Saturday, January 27, 2024

Why does Davidson County underpay its teachers?

 by Rod Williams, Jan. 27, 2023- When I have heard that Nashville's teachers are underpaid, I have been skeptical, but it is true. 

I found the following data from a The Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR) study that compares counties across the State in a numerous category. Actually, I was looking for a report on affordable housing but got sidetracked when I came across this data on education. Almost any data you want to know about a county you can find has been compiled by TACIR. This data is a couple years old, and I do not know how it might have changed for the 2021-2022 or the 2022-2023 school year. 

Looking at the below excerpt from the report, one will note that the state average teacher salary is $52,781 while Davidson County is only $51,753 making the Davidson County system rank 48th. That means that some very low-income counties are paying their teachers more. Also, it is worth keeping in mind that in some counties in the state, the cost of living is much lower, especially the cost of housing.  Also, in some counties a teacher is among the highest wage earners in the county and are honored professionals while in Davidson County teachers are not among the elite of society. In some places being a teacher offers prestige, but not so much in Davidson County. 

So why do pay our teachers so poorly?  We must underfund education, right? Not so. Look at this excerpt.

While the statewide per pupil expenditure is $10,703, in Davidson County it is $13,940. Davidson County ranks 4th in the state in per pupil expenditure.

We do not underpay our teachers because we underfund education. The numbers don't lie.

We need to spend less on management and get more money into the classroom. We need fewer administrators and need to pay teachers more. This will only happen if we elect fewer progressives to the school board and elect people with different priorities.

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