PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz. - An Arizona teacher is going viral after posting her salary online.
Her take home pay after seven years of teaching in Arizona is a reality check as to just how little our educators make. Teacher salaries have been front and center recently, after a strike in West Virginia and the Red for Ed movement in Phoenix last week.
We're hearing from Paradise Valley teacher, Elisabeth Milich for the first time. She says that something must be done to increase pay, otherwise Arizona's children will be taught by unqualified burn-outs.
In Milich's Facebook post, a photo shows a pay increase section saying her salary went up from $35,490 to $35,621. That's an increase of $131.
"I'm still paying off school loans and granted I picked an expensive college and I got a great education, but I'm still paying off students loans 20 years later because my salary doesn't make a dent in even the interest in those loans," Milich said. "That's the sad state we are in. We are not going to have educated people teaching the future generations of Arizona if we do not make a change."
Milich says the raise she received after taking a few professional development classes to better herself as a teacher for her students. On top of the low pay, Milich says she has to buy the majority of supplies for her students from tape to markers.
A 2017 study by ASU's Morrison Institute for Public Policy finds that when adjusted for cost of living, Arizona ranks 48th in high school teacher pay and is dead last in elementary teacher pay. That puts those elementary teachers at barely over $42,000 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
More of ASU's research found that 42 percent of Arizona's teachers hired in 2013 left the profession within three years.