Teacher salary freezes leaves students worry free
New Jersey governor Chris Christie’s proposal to freeze pay-raises on teachers’ salaries at the start of June has not caused much worry for Seton Hall education majors.
The pay freeze comes in light of comments Christie made during his campaign promising he would reduce government spending.
Teachers typically receive a 4 percent or higher raise each year, Manina Huckvale, associate dean for academic affairs of the College of Education and Human Services, said.
Christie is also proposing a 15 percent cut in total formula aid, which would cut the aid from $7.5 billion to $1.1 billion. With this cut some districts will have to use budget surpluses for funding, according to Huckvale.
Though the pay freezes and budget cuts will have a detrimental effect on those looking for teaching jobs, Seton Hall graduates will have less of a problem, according to Huckvale.
“I imagine it will be difficult for some of our students to get teaching positions after graduation,” Huckvale said. “However, many of our students graduate with multiple certificates so I anticipate that our graduates will have less of a problem than graduates of other colleges and universities.”
Freshman Moira Kelly, who will graduate with certificates in early childhood education, elementary school education and special education, is one of those students.
The pay freezes have not affected Kelly’s interest in becoming a teacher.
“I definitely won’t be changing my major because of the pay freezes,” Kelly said. “Being a teacher is something I feel so strongly about. I cannot picture myself in any other occupation.”
The education program at Seton Hall has not had any students who have decided to change their major because of the pay freezes, according to Huckvale.
Virginia Crilly, a senior special, elementary education and English major, is not concerned either.
“The pay freezes do not make me want to change my major,” Crilly said. “In fact I feel that a passionate teacher does not go into the job for the money.”
Salary, according to Huckvale, is not a factor in a person’s choice to become a teacher.
“I’ve wanted to become a teacher for years because I have a passion for working with children and the cause of education for all,” Kelly said. “The money aspect of teaching did not influence my decision to become a teacher.”
On average a teacher in New Jersey earns about $56,635 each year, according to Employment Spot. However, teachers who take on additional jobs, such as coaching, or have a higher degree, may result in an increase in their average yearly salary, according to Huckvale.
Students at Seton Hall are not worried about acquiring a job after graduation.
“This economy is worrisome for anybody right now,” Crilly said. “I do have confidence that I will be able to find a job because of my experiences and Seton Hall’s amazing programs.
Despite the pay freezes, students agree that money is not a factor. Being an educator is about having a passion for teaching.
“A passionate teacher does not only make a living off of the career but dedicates his or her life to serving others,” Crilly said.
Jessica Sutcliffe can be reached at at firstname.lastname@example.org.