Discussing politics and religion is just as charged on social media as it was at dinner parties of yore, but now add teachers' salaries into the mix. It all comes courtesy of Elisabeth Milich, a second-grade teacher at Phoenix's Whispering Wind Academy who, per the Arizona Republic, posted a pic of her $35,490 salary on Facebook after finding out what her next raise would entail, drawing both support and criticism from those who think teachers already do just fine. "I actually laughed when I saw the old salary vs. the new one," she wrote. "I mean really, I need a college degree to make this?" She added her pay boost amounts to $131, and that she was lucky enough to receive that only because she'd taken about 60 hours of professional development classes. Milich tells KFOR she brings home about $640 biweekly after taxes and other costs are taken out.
"If you [do] not have spousal support or somebody else subsidizing your income, you could not live on the salary teachers are paid in this state," she says. She also takes issue with Gov. Doug Ducey's pushback on teacher pay, which he recently said went up 4.4% to an average salary of $48,000. "I don't know who they're talking about," says Milich, who's been teaching for seven years. Per the Arizona School Boards Association, median teacher pay in Arizona, one of the lowest-paying states in the US, is $46,949, not counting a 1% raise approved last year, the Republic notes. "I am proud to be a teacher," Milich says. "I am not proud to be a teacher in Arizona." Arizona's teachers have started a #RedForEd protest and have a "Day of Action for Education" planned on March 28, per the Republic. (What a strike got West Virginia teachers.)