Secretary of Labor: Teachers need more in their contract negotiations

ORLANDO, Fla. — Labor Day brought a day off for America’s teachers, but not a day off from thinking about how they’ll make ends meet.


For the last several years, states have been fighting to pay teachers more, but not much.

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As of this year, the average starting salary in Florida will be just above $47,000, the ninth highest in the nation, but not high enough to entice people to fill the 5,800 open positions that were open in June in the Sunshine State.

In a one-on-one interview with Channel 9, U.S. Secretary of Labor Marth Walsh emphasized the fact that education is mostly a local issue, but he said states and school boards needed to give more in their contract negotiations with the goal of attracting former teachers back into the industry through a high-enough salary and a more supportive atmosphere.

He also said communities needed to invest more on training teachers of color, and said his department was exploring apprenticeship programs to aid that.

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“Every dollar that goes into workforce development, or job training, that’s a smart investment as well,” Walsh said. “Same with when it comes to teaching and education, that if you make those investments upfront, they’ll come back to you.”

Analysts said college loan forgiveness was a way to ease the pressure on the teaching industry. The Biden administration recently relieved up to $20,000 of debt per graduate.

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Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.