News & Politics

Kamala Harris Proposes Using Federal Funds to Increase Teacher Pay

Kamala Harris (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris is proposing to “invest” in a program to increase the pay of teachers using federal funds.

These days, any time a Democrat uses the word “invest,” grab your wallet and head for the hills.

Increasing teacher pay isn’t a bad idea, as long as the right teachers get the pay raise. Rewarding good teachers, however, is not Harris’s plan. All teachers — good and bad — should get the increase and taxpayers are going to be asked to foot the bill, Harris said, much to the delight of the teachers’ unions, whose endorsement Harris is shamelessly seeking.

Washington Examiner:

“We are a society that pretends to care about education, but not the education of other people’s children. And we’ve got to deal with that,” Harris told the crowd of 2,400 people. “We are not paying our teachers their value… That ain’t right!”

“So I decided in Harris County today to unveil, to announce, for the first time publicly an initiative of what I’m proposing, which will be the largest federal investment in teacher salaries in the history of the United States,” she said. “And I pledge to you that by the end of my first term we will have improved teacher salaries to close the pay gap because right now teachers are making over 10 percent less than other college-educated graduates.”

I think Harris should propose using federal funds to pay writers. I’m making about 10 percent less than other graduates my age. Why shouldn’t I get in line for the goodies?

Harris reacted to anticipated criticism over how she intended to finance her plan, saying the question should be what is the return on the investment.

“We have got to think about how we can bridge the gap between helplessness and hope,” she said, quoting former President Lyndon Johnson who taught in Texas. “We have got to reject people that don’t understand the importance of bridging gaps, and instead of building bridges want to build a wall that is a vanity project.”

As mentioned above, the teachers’ unions are ecstatic:

Response to the proposal, a change from current local and state government dominance on the issue, was greeted on Saturday with enthusiasm by the American Federation of Teachers and its president, Randi Weingarten, ahead of more details being released on Tuesday. Weingarten’s endorsement could give Harris an edge among the other contenders in the crowded Democratic 2020 primary field.

“THIS is incredible!! @KamalaHarris is putting attracting & retaining teachers front and center. This would make a huge difference in the lives of educators, our students and our communities,” Weingarten tweeted.

The proposal furthers the fantasy that all teachers have worth and that all teachers deserve a raise. We shouldn’t think that all of our problems in education are due to bad teachers. There are bad administrators, bad curricula, bad physical plants, inadequate spending — the list is a long one.

But pandering to the teachers union with a proposal that amounts to a bribe using federal tax dollars won’t solve anything.