|February 5, 2020
Committee on Education
Dear Chair Kidani, Vice Chair Kim and Members of the Committee:
On behalf of Parents for Public Schools of Hawai‘i, I write in support of SB2488, which will fund necessary discretionary salary adjustments for experienced public school teachers.
Parents for Public Schools of Hawai‘i is a non-profit organization made up of over 1,200 parents and other family members across the State whose children attend public schools. Our members have stated that what they value most about their schools are their teachers. Teachers are our schools’ greatest assets. Yet, teachers’ salaries in Hawai‘i have not kept up with the rising cost of living. As the cost-of-living has increased, we have seen many excellent teachers leave the profession and our State. Our teacher retention problem is the worst in the country, with nearly half of our teacher leaving within five years on the job.
Although we have made some progress in addressing the pay of new teachers, the salaries of many experienced teachers have remained the same. Experienced teacher salaries are unfairly close to that of their newer colleagues. We know that teachers grow steeply in effectiveness in their first five years of experience. Experience leads to teachers honing their craft. Experienced teachers often have more responsibilities, as they mentor newer colleagues and take on leadership positions at their schools. Experienced teachers deserve to be compensated for their expertise and services.
Salaries make a difference for teachers, as they do individuals from other professions. Compensating veteran teachers with a salary that reflects their experience will influence these experienced teachers to stay in their positions. Assuring adequate compensation of experienced teachers will also affect the recruitment of new candidates who are contemplating entering the profession. If capable young people do not view teaching as career that will afford them a living wage throughout their lives, they will not choose it as a career. Our teachers deserve to be compensated at a rate that will expresses our value of them as our greatest educational asset. Please support SB2488.
Parents for Public Schools Hawaii (PPSHI) is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) volunteer organization of parents, community members, and educators working to improve and support public education through family engagement. We are committed to ensuring all children in Hawai`i have access to a quality public education.