There are many problems that the agriculture industry is facing. Every day you see a new problem that is being broadcasted on the news. The agriculture industry is one of the biggest industries in the world that is talked about. I want to talk about the agriculture shortage schools are having today. All around the U.S.A and our state of Illinois there is a shortage of agriculture teachers in our schools.
The shortage of teachers started to become a problem around 2009. The National Teach Ag Campaign started focusing more on this issue. During 2014-15 school year, there was a loss of about 400 agriculture teachers throughout thirty states. The reasons for the shortages are: teachers retiring, growth and expansions of programs, graduates excepting jobs outside of teaching, and teachers leaving for other opportunities (Naae.org, 2018). Some teachers don’t leave teaching completely, but they move from school to school trying to find the best paying job. The problems of this topic can differ depending on many variables.
There is a lot of controversy on this topic and you can take it to many different levels. The two arguments that this paper will be talking about is one: Agriculture teachers do not make enough money for the extra work they put in, and two: Teachers make enough money for the degree they have earned in college.
The first argument that I will talk about is the argument that teachers get paid enough and don’t need a pay raise. Now this argument doesn’t just apply to ag teachers, it applies to all teachers. One reason people argue this is because, the degree they earned in college is worth the amount of money they make as a teacher.
Another reason people argue this is because schools turn down the brightest applicants. Even when schools are offered highly skilled teachers, they turn them down. In the Quarterly Journal of Economics, Ballou demonstrated that many of the highly skilled teaching applicants- the ones who graduate from the better colleges and earned higher GPAs, or hold degrees in specialized areas- schools often reject them in favor of the more traditional route of majoring in education. The administration tends to hire applicants whose training resembles their own.
One other argument this source argues is that higher pay could lower teacher quality. Their argument is started with an observation that increasing pay reduces the number of job openings, and increases the number of new applicants. This basically lowers the chance that any applicant will receive the job offer. The diminished probability could discourage applicants from making the investment in becoming a teacher (The Federalist, 28 July 2014).
The other side of this topic argues that Agriculture teachers don’t get paid enough. They say the reason for such a shortage is that as an Agriculture teacher, you usually play a role as an FFA advisor. With this duty, you have a lot more to do that to just plan studies. You spend your time on the weekends going to contests and conferences. The starting salary for an agriculture teacher is around $40,142.
The salary obviously changes from state to state or from district to district. But then with this salary you should also get a stipend. The average pay is ten and a half months plus the stipend. At my school, my FFA advisors only get paid ten months of pay with no stipend. For those teachers, they may feel like they aren’t getting what they deserve. They spend almost every weekend with their students and not with their friends or family and don’t get paid for their extra work. How do you expect to keep those dedicated teachers at their schools if they can use their degree in some other way?
College students are going to start to think smart and major in Agriculture Education but minor in Agriculture business. So then when these teachers find out that they can make more in the business side they will lean towards that. We need people to realize that we need teachers in schools to help develop smart and talented students. Not everyone can afford to homeschool their children. The teachers that are dedicated to teaching are the ones who deserve the most. The teachers that stay working as a teacher no matter what their salary is, those are the teachers we need. But, we should reward them for their hard work and dedication.
If you want to know my opinion, I definitely believe in raising the salary for these teachers. From my own perspective, every agriculture teacher and FFA advisor that I’ve had has spent late nights and long weekends making sure we go to the events we want to. They make sure we are taught things to not only get us through school but life. In a rural town as a high school senior, fifty percent of classes that we take are agriculture based classes. With that being said, kids are interested in ag. We are raised in small towns, and raised on farms. We live agriculture. We live agriculture. We love our teachers.
One of the main issues that affects teachers not getting paid enough is that the states don’t have enough money to spare. One in five dollars goes to elementary and high schools. More than forty-five percent of that money goes towards paying the staff, according to the Urban Institute. This means that the pay teachers are making depends on the taxes of the local and state. Some states can fund their schools more than other because they can raise more money. This has been a problem for several years. This problem was brought to President Franklin D. Roosevelt in a report based on schools in southern states that give a larger relative share of their income tax to their schools; they just have fewer recourses per child (Fight for Higher Teacher Pay).
Some states have missed budgets as a result of policy options, including tax cuts that reduced revenue in places like Arizona or Kansas. For years, legislatures would give benefits to teachers and other government employees. These state are now behind. The share of education tax dollars, are now going to pay retired teachers. So then the teachers who are working today aren’t receiving any (Fight for Higher Teacher Pay).
If we are wanting to pay teachers more, we might have to raise taxes. Then you have people complaining about taxes being too high. If we cut facilities like road services or prisons, people will protest about that. If we cut schools, there will be controversy about consolidation and so on. The problem is so big to those teachers, but others see it as a minimum (Fight for Higher Teacher Pay).
We need to educate people about this issue. Like me, a high school student, I don’t understand all of the facts that are behind this topic that have to do with the government. I think we need to send state representatives to visit students in their schools, to explain the funding for education. High school students need to be informed. If they learn more about topics like these they can know more about what job they want to pursue in, or how they can one day help a problem like this. They can be knowledgeable about behind the scenes, other than just hearing people complain.
I also think that we need to educate people by telling them ways we could help the teachers. For instance, raising taxes, educate people on why we could raise taxes. Maybe they would understand that just a little out of their pockets, would go to the teachers teaching their kids in school and getting their kids through to go to college.
Personally, I could spread the information that I’ve learned writing this paper to my classmates. People aren’t aware of most things like this because they go to school and they go home. Or they go to work and they go home. If it doesn’t concern them, it doesn’t affect their lives.
Every day, we have teachers quitting their jobs, moving from school to school, trying to find a job where they will make enough so that they can afford to live. Teachers aren’t just teachers because it’s a job. Teachers are superheroes that go to work every day, or go out of their way on weekends, making ends meet just to get students like me out in the world. To see that there is more than going to school to learn. That there are hidden opportunities everywhere. Teachers deserve to be paid more, especially ag teachers. It takes a teacher, to have a student. Give the teachers what they deserve, because in the end, everyone can be a little happier.