VEA says Virginia teachers trail peers in pay

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RICHMOND, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The Virginia Education Association says teachers in the Commonwealth tend to earn thousands less than their peers in other states.

According to a release, Virginia teachers trail most of their colleagues around the country every payday, earning $8,483 less than the national average salary annually.

The National Education Association's Rankings and Estimates report has ranked Virginia at 32nd in the country for teacher pay.

"How are we supposed to recruit and retain the very best, most committed educators that our children deserve if we don't pay them well," asked VEA President Jim Livingston. "We know teachers aren't in our schools to get rich, but why should they have to take second and even third jobs to support their families? That's a disservice to everyone."

Another statistical analysis by the Economic Policy Institute looked at the salaries of college graduates in every state, which found that Virginia teachers earn 31.3 percent less in average weekly wages, adjusted for inflation, than other college graduates in Virginia.

The EPI reported only two other states has worse "wage penalties" than Virginia.

The release says the Virginia General Assembly recently approved a raise for teachers, but some localities are facing shortfalls, which are preventing them from matching the state dollars for those raises.

Livingston says the state needs to make a long-term commitment for funding for the future, including more funding support for localities that have seen the state share of K-12 funding decrease since the recession.

To read more on the NEA and EPI reports, click on the links in the Related Links box.

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