SFUSD teachers should have higher starting salaries

Emily Yee

Teachers are important to the success of students’ well-being and academic journey. If they are integral members of our society, why are they struggling to make ends meet? The answer is quite simple: They are not being paid enough.

Teachers have always had the short end of the stick when it comes to their wage. According to a recent 2023 survey conducted by United Educators of San Francisco (UEF), 96% of UESF members voiced that a salary increase was very important in addressing teachers’ needs. Starting in April of 2023, UESF members have passed proposals, urging the district to increase teachers’ salaries, as well as improve working conditions, instill fully-staffed schools, and protection from poor management decisions.

SFUSD teachers should have higher starting salaries. 

Although increasing salaries appears to be a direct solution in solving this issue, finding the money to boost their salaries is difficult. To award teachers who are going above and beyond, the city offers financial and equity incentives like the Mayor’s Office Stipend and money for National Board Certification members. These incentives give teachers salary boosts which range from $1,000 to $5,000. These surpluses, however, are still not enough. They are small incentives that have narrow criterias, meaning the majority of teachers do not benefit from it. Instead, raising salaries are more effective in rewarding teachers for their efforts. 

Teachers have always had the short end of the stick when it comes to their wage.

If there’s one word that could encapsulate San Francisco, it would be expensive.   Teachers educate the future generation of lawyers, politicians, and doctors, so the least we can do as a society is to provide them a living wage. According to Rent Cafe, the cost of living in San Francisco is 28 percent higher than the state’s average and 79 percent higher than the national average. Currently, the starting salary for a new teacher with credentials is $63,458, which is not enough for San Francisco’s living standard. As a result, many teachers struggle financially. “We need a much higher salary in one of the wealthiest cities on the planet,” an educator said. “Too many of us are working other jobs to make ends meet.” 

Emily Yee

The low pay makes teaching a dying profession. According to Education Week, interest in the job has dropped 50 percent since the 1990s and 38 percent since 2010. While there are multiple factors that explain this large decline, low-pay is a major contributor to this problem. If we don’t increase teachers salaries, sooner or later, there won’t be any teachers left to teach in our classrooms. 

We need to support teachers’ well being as they do for students. SFUSD should increase teachers’ starting salaries in order for them to sustain a living in San Francisco.