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Two weeks ago was Teacher Appreciation Week, and I intended to write on the subject, but a more newsy topic intervened.The picture Steinbeck paints (set in the early 20th century) is almost unrecognizable in today's America, where schoolteachers are so poorly paid that they are five times as likely as the average full-time worker to have a second job, according to Vox.The average pay for a teacher in America, adjusted for inflation, has actually declined over the last 15 years, while their health care costs have risen substantially. The Economist reports that teachers earn 60 percent of what a professional with comparable education does.The average salary for a teacher in many states is under $50,000 . Teachers in West Virginia went on strike a few months ago to demand higher wages, and the government agreed to a 5 percent pay raise, which means the average salary will rise to only $48,000 . Since 35 percent fewer Americans have studied to become teachers in recent years, she notes, there are massive teacher shortages, forcing schools nationwide to hire more than 100,000 people who lack the proper qualifications.
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