Elizabeth Milich, Paradise Valley, Arizona teacher social media post lambasting a scant pay rise leads to debate underscoring the struggle of surviving on a teacher’s salary.
Underscoring the real world struggles of making it, even with a college education, a Paradise Valley, Arizona second grade teacher’s social media post questioning a less than negligible pay rise after completing extra training has led to open outcry on the internet.
The fracas comes after Elizabeth Coate Milich a second grade teacher at Whispering Winds Academy in Phoenix took to Facebook to vent her frustration after completing 60 hours of professional development work which only scored her an additional $131.25 pay rise on her annual teacher’s salary of $35, 491.
Needless to say Milich’s post only served to add fire to the national debate over teacher’s salaries. Or the functioning lack of.
In her post, Milich shared a picture of her 2017 salary, $35, 490 where she extolled how 60 hours of professional development courses would only bump her salary to $35,621.25.
Such courses are often taken to boost a teacher’s skills as well as salaries.
Elizabeth Milich: ‘The reality is without my husband’s income I could NEVER be an educator in this state!’
‘I’ve debated about posting this but in the end want to show what a teaching salary really looks like in Az. This is my new pay after taking a few professional development classes,’ she wrote.
Adding, ‘I actually laughed when I saw the old salary vs. the new one. I mean really, I need a college degree to make this? I paid 80,000 for a college degree, I then paid several hundred more to transfer my certification to Az,’
Her pay stub revealed her income would jump to $35,621.25, a difference of just an additional $131.25 next year.
‘The reality is without my husband’s income I could NEVER be an educator in this state!’ she wrote. ‘I’m sad for my single mom teacher friends working three jobs to make ends meet! Something must be done.’
Adding, ‘I buy every roll of tape I use, every paper clip I use, every sharpie I grade with, every snack I feed kids who don’t have them, every decorated bulletin board, the list could go on. I love teaching! BUT…the reality is without my husband’s income I could NEVER be an educator in this state!’
‘I’m sad for my single mom teacher friends working three jobs to make ends meet! Something must be done…otherwise our poor children will be taught by unqualified, burned out, and just plain bad teachers! P.S. No one goes into teaching for the money, by all means…but we do need to eat and have a home!’ she said.
Milich worked for the Paradise Valley Unified School District in Phoenix.
So why are there are so many disparities in what teachers get paid?
Milich’s post follows Arizona Governor Doug Ducey boasting earlier this week.
Told Doucey via KTAR radio, ‘Our teacher pay last year went up 4.4 per cent to an average teacher pay of $48,000. Now that’s not enough’.
Addressing Governer Doucey’s claims, Milich noted teachers that have been in Arizona and teaching for several years make far less than the $48K average with many forced to take on a second or third job to pay bills
Told Milich, ‘I don’t know who they’re talking about. Because I know what I live. I see my printout. And I can’t tell you how many hundreds of teachers have said mine looks exactly like that,’
The median salary for Arizona elementary school teachers as of last year, adjusted for cost living, was $42,474, according to Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy.
The media salary for high school teachers was $47,890. Not clear is how Milich’s salary was $13K below the state average, a situation that many teacher’s are dealing with.
My friend & colleague in IL with a message for @dougducey #redfored pic.twitter.com/V4UHm5Br5T
— Noah Karvelis (@Noah__Karvelis) March 10, 2018
Sorry tweeps, this may be more than 3 reasons why I’m #RedForEd @dougducey @JeffFlake @AZGOP @Noah__Karvelis pic.twitter.com/EdBCBTocpW
— Mark Schommer (@CoachB_Rad) March 9, 2018
National drive to raise teacher salaries underway:
Milich’s posts are part of a larger movement brewing in Arizona and across the states for greater pay for public school teachers.
Last week Arizona teachers saw a #RedForEd movement in the form of protests and walk outs as an outcry against low pay.
Teachers in the movement say that the meager wages contributes to a shortage of qualified educators.
‘I just posted it to bring awareness,’ Milich said reflecting on the post.
‘When you see it in black and white and you see what your raise is, it is just laughable,’ she added.
A similar movement rippled through West Virginia as well, striking for higher pay.
Reactions to the Milich’s Facebook post (since taken down) have been mixed. Some people have been supportive and shared their own stories, while others criticized the teacher’s post.
‘I have a lot of people bashing or being critical of the fact that teachers only work for 9 months,’ said Milich. ‘People just don’t understand what all goes into teaching.’
‘I am proud to be a teacher,’ said Milich. ‘I am not proud to be a teacher in Arizona.’
Here’s a breakdown of 2016 elementary school teacher salaries adjusted for cost of living:
50: Arizona, $42,474.
49: Oklahoma, $43,192
48: Florida, $46,653.
45: Colorado, $47,413.
40: West Virginia, $50,956.
36: Indiana, $52,701.
28: Utah, $54,814.
27: Nevada, $55,582.
26: Texas, $55,930.
19: New Mexico, $59,047.
9: Oregon, $62,621.
7: California, $65,370.
2: Connecticut, $70,156.