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By Benjy Sarlin
Senator Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Unveiled Tuesday a plan to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to increase teachers' salaries.
Considered "the largest teacher investment in American history," the plan would provide $ 315 billion in federal funding over the next 10 years for programs to subsidize public educators. K-12 and reward state and local governments for further strengthening. . It would be paid for by indefinite changes in the inheritance tax, which currently only applies to estates over $ 11.4 million for individuals and $ 22.8 million. dollars for married couples.
Harris presented the plan in a speech last weekend at Texas Southern University, in which she said that more funding was needed to fund studies "to bridge the gap between powerlessness and hope," reiterating a quote from President Lyndon B. Johnson about signing a bill to expand aid to poor schools.
According to the Harris campaign, the goal is to ultimately increase teachers' salaries by $ 13,500 per person average, which is the typical salary of other employees with a university degree. The campaign documents referred to research by the Institute of Left Economic Policy, which found that teachers earned on average 11% less than college-trained workers in wages and benefits.
According to the Californian Senator's plan, the federal government would fund 10% of the total salary increase for the first year, and then pay $ 3 to the states for every dollar invested in additional wages.
It would commit additional funds to further increase the salaries of teachers in the poorest schools, as well as a "multi-billion dollar investment" in educator career development. Half of this amount would go to teachers who study in historic black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and other institutions with mainly minority students.
The campaign presents these measures as a way to train, attract and retain teachers in the poorest communities, where schools have developed into increased racial segregation in recent decades.
Harris's proposal comes during a long period of tumultuous struggles over education funding, including strikes in cities like West Virginia and more recently Los Angeles and Oakland. Demonstrations, strikes and strikes played a role in the midterm elections, with teachers running for election and Democrat candidates claiming that tax cuts in some Republican-run states had left schools behind. underfunded.
Funding for K-12 education is mainly dictated by state and local governments. Harris' proposal seems to indicate that national candidates are looking for ways to capture militant energy among teachers – a valuable constituency in a Democratic primary – by expanding the role of the federal government.
"We have had a decade of disinvestment in public education," Catherine Brown, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress Action, told NBC News, who had consulted Harris on the project. "It's a national problem that requires different types of thinking and a national solution, and I think it responds to it."