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‘Who, with good sense, can argue?’ | DC teachers protest for higher wages, benefits

Washington Substitute Teachers United and the Washington Teachers Union are coming together and speaking out.

WASHINGTON — Teachers in the District are banding together to demand better treatment in and outside of the classroom on Monday. 

The protest is set to begin at 3:30 p.m. in front of the District Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, in Northwest, D.C. with representatives from Washington Substitute Teachers United (WSTU)  and the Washington Teachers Union. The afternoon timing is meant to accommodate teachers just getting out of class, WSTU said. 

The groups are asking for higher wages, among other requests. 

“We deserve to earn $300 a day, get benefits, legal protection and professional development.  Who, with good sense, can argue with that?” wrote WSTU President Myrtle Washington in a press release ahead of a protest for the same causes at the end of January. 

“Last week, Rev. Dr. William Lamar from Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church rallied with us.  He spoke with the press and called the powers-that-be “ungodly” for disrespecting us with $15 for 14 years. Wow!  And after taxes it comes to $11.89 an hour!” Washington stated. 

Just one week after DCPS substitute teachers staged a rally outside the Wilson building in early January, their demands for pay raises were met.

DCPS is now giving short-term subs a raise from $15.20 to $17.00 an hour. According to a spokesperson, DCPS is still short substitutes with 560 available down almost 300 from the 2019-2020 school year (853). To recruit more, DCPS said they’re working with colleges and universities and holding job fairs.

RELATED: Substitute shortage: Here's how DMV schools are working to get educators in classrooms

Back in August 2021, a study from business.org claimed that Virginia and D.C. ranked last in the country for teacher pay.

The July study compared the average salary of primary and secondary school teachers to the average salary for all jobs within each state and District. The data was collected using the National Center for Education Statistics and compared with the salaries of all occupations from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The results found that D.C. and Virginia rank last in the country, with educators earning 17% and 10% less than the average wage, respectively.

RELATED: New report finds Virginia and DC teacher pay ranks last in the country

RELATED: 'I've never seen someone work as hard' | DCPS teacher recognized out of a million public service workers for impact in classroom

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