Teaching is in a state of crisis. With 50 percent of teachers considering leaving, an unprecedented sub shortage, and colleges canceling education classes due to lack of interest, we need to have an urgent conversation about ways we can make teaching more sustainable. And central to that conversation is the topic of teacher pay. Over the weekend, North Carolina assistant principal Kevin Poirier posted about how starting salaries for educators in his state are lower than those at Chipotle.
Poirier posted the Chipotle salaries side by side with the North Carolina educator pay scales, which does indeed show that crew members at Chipotle can make more than a first-year teacher in the state. He also points out that general managers at Chipotle make thousands more than he does as an assistant principal.
The point is not to downplay the work performed at Chipotle
Poirier is quick to point out, “this is not at all to downplay the service that someone working at Chipotle does.” Rather, he says, “we really need to think about our values and start prioritizing public education or we are going to be in serious trouble.”
Of course, Chipotle isn’t the only place where educators can make more money
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal discussed the industries that are eager to hire teachers—and pay them more. These industries include ed tech, publishing, graphic design, and more. Facing their own shortages, trucking and delivery services like UPS are paying workers well over six figures.
So why hasn’t education caught up?
When we see restaurant and retail industries raising their salaries in response to a challenging and competitive environment, it’s hard not to feel discouraged that teaching isn’t doing the same. Teaching is an incredibly complex job and we deserve to be paid more, period. If these changes don’t happen soon, as Poirier says, we may only be seeing the beginning of the teacher shortage.