Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., has cosponsored a bill that would raise the national minimum salary for public school teachers to $60,000.
The goal of the American Teacher Act, originally introduced by Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., is to incentivize states to increase teacher pay amid record-high inflation while also encouraging more people to become educators.
“Teachers deserve a raise. Our nation’s teachers have been underpaid, overworked, and deprived of resources for too long,” Wilson said. “Teachers are the backbone of our education system and economy, playing a foundational role in the development of our children. For seven hours a day, they help shape and inspire young minds as well as nurture students academically and socially.”
If passed, each state would have to opt-in to a federal grant program through the U.S. Department of Education with allocations being made in order to aid states in raising their minimum teacher salaries.
Wilson added that she hopes the bill will make it through both chambers during the next Congress, which starts in January.
Mississippi currently has a starting pay of $41,500 for first-year teachers, following the passage of the state’s largest-ever teacher pay raise during the most recent session.