Proposed “Salary Increase of Public School Teachers Act of 2023” Aims to Elevate Teacher Compensation
In a significant move to address the underpayment of public school teachers, ANG Probinsyano Party-list Rep. Alfred delos Santos has introduced House Bill 9157, also known as the “Salary Increase of Public School Teachers Act of 2023.” The proposed legislation aims to elevate the salary grade of public school teachers from Salary Grade 11 to Salary Grade 15, starting in 2023.
The Current State of Teacher Salaries
Despite their critical role in shaping the future of the nation’s youth, public school teachers have long been underpaid. According to Rep. delos Santos, teachers holding the position of Teacher I currently receive a monthly salary of P27,000, equivalent to Salary Grade 11. This inadequate compensation often forces educators to seek additional sources of income or even pursue better-paying opportunities abroad.
The Need for a Salary Increase
The issue of underpaid teachers is not unique to the Philippines. Research from the National Education Association shows that the average teacher salary in the United States in 2021 was slightly over $40,000 a year. The economic strain on educators has led many to ponder the balance between passion, profession, and pay.
The Fourth Tranche Under the Salary Standardization Law
The proposed act comes into effect alongside the fourth tranche under the Salary Standardization Law. Rep. delos Santos emphasized that the current salary level pushes educators to explore other avenues for income, which often leads them to seek better working opportunities abroad.
The Global Context
The idea of raising pay for educators seems to have support across party and state lines, not just in the Philippines but also in countries like the United States. For instance, Rep. Frederica Wilson introduced the “American Teacher Act” to raise minimum teacher salaries to $60,000 a year for K-12 teachers. Similarly, Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced complementary legislation called the “Pay Teachers Act.”
The “Salary Increase of Public School Teachers Act of 2023” is a much-needed step in the right direction for the education sector. By increasing the salary grade of public school teachers, the act aims to provide them with compensation that is commensurate with the value of their contribution to the nation.