Share your story: How would a minimum wage increase help your students and community?


Workers all across the country are struggling to make ends meet. With the federal minimum wage at a dismal $7.25 an hour, many workers are unable to earn a wage that meets basic expenses such as food, clothing and housing.

In 1960, the federal minimum wage earned by a single worker was enough to keep a family of two out of poverty. Today, however, there are only four states in the entire country where the minimum wage is enough for even an individual worker with no family to earn a living wage, meaning one in which a worker can afford food, housing, utilities and other basic expenses. Fortunately, Senate Democrats and President Obama are pushing for an increase of the federal minimum wage to $10.10, which would pull more than half of our country’s working poor out of poverty.

Research by the National Education Association tells us that 27% of education support professionals earn less than the proposed $10.10 per hour, and we know that educators deal with the effects of poverty on their students every day. That’s why we’re asking you to share your story below and tell us how an increase to the federal minimum wage would affect you, your students and your community.

Are your students coming to school hungry? Are your students’ parents unable to attend meetings with you because they are forced to work multiple jobs just to put food on the table? Are education support professionals at your school forced to jump ship for more lucrative jobs? Are you yourself struggling to live without a living wage? Simply fill out the form below to let us know how an increase to the federal minimum wage would help you, your students, and your community.

Together we can make the case to Congress how important an increase in the federal minimum wage is to our students and their families.

Reader Comments

  1. As a business owner, I can assure you that raising minimum wage will cause businesses to decrease workers’ hours, and decrease the number of workers working. Those who are educators should be the most knowledgable on this subject because education is the key to people working in higher paying jobs, based on their level of education. Minimum wage jobs are typically jobs that require the least amount of education, such as cashiers, fast food workers, food servers, retail employees, etc. Why pay a cashier the same pay of a pharmacy technician or an emergency room technician? The responsibility and education for the job are not the same. People are paid based on the job, not based on their need. This is what is wrong with our country now. People believe they should be paid based on how much money they want or need. In reality, people are paid based on the job that they do, the skill and education required to do the job, and the job performance. As workers take on more responsibility and learn to do more complicated jobs, they have opportunities to promote, get raises or bonuses. This requires work, just like the college educated, hopefully, graduates with the tools to be employed in a job that requires greater knowledge and education, and ultimately potential for greater pay. Focus on getting people educated and encouraging students to obtain college degrees in fields that they can get jobs, rather than expect the government to find ways to pay people more than what their time is worth. Education is the key. With that said, teachers should be paid much more!

  2. I am a Classroom Para Educator in the Baltimore County Public School System. I have been an NEA, MSEA and ESPBC member for fourteen years. Two years ago I ran for and won the Secretary’s seat on the ESPBC Board of directors. I was immediately advised to relinquish that position, by the Treasurer and previous Secretary, because apparently people with Jewish sounding names “weren’t considered that intelligent”. At the first Rep Assembly, I attended as Secretary, the first order of business for the President and Vice President was to suggest that I was an “identity thief” and therefore should not be trusted with any information or allowed on any committees. This motion that was made by the Vice President was out of order, despite my pointing it out, the President still allowed it to stand. The Rep Assembly immediately voted it down, but, the President declared it passed. My third response was to try to file a grievance. Natasha Banning, my Uniserve rep, didn’t know how to do that and had to “talk to Mr. Anzelc”, the Executive Director, about the situation. I have asked MSEA for help. I am unfortunately still waiting for Mr. Whitter to have “the talk” with Mr. Anzelc. The irony is that as Mr. Anzelc attends all of the Board meetings, he would have to be “deaf, dumb and blind” not to know what is going on. The bottom line in the situation is that I am a member and I am being denied the stated and implied rights of membership; which are the right to run for an office and to be allowed to perform all the duties and receive all the privileges given to anyone holding that office. I have not been given any opportunity to attend trainings nor attend the conventions I was voted by the membership to attend. The Treasurer and Vice President pointed out that I was free to attend anything as long as I paid my own way. Yes, our Executive Director and the President were at that meeting. Is that something else the Mr. Whitter needs to talk to him about?
    This year I tried to run for the Vice President’s position. The election procedures are clearly outlined in both our bylaws and handbook. Yet, the Vice President (who has also been the Nominations and Election Committee for the past ten years), allowed herself and her friends to conduct a campaign; I couldn’t because I never received the current building rep list. Our Executive Director allowed the Vice President to alter my Personal Statement and Campaign Statement to the point where they became unintelligible. The Vice President also counted all the votes forbidding anyone except whom she chose to act as “witnesses” to help count the ballots.
    I am asking for your help. This second class membership treatment is not just directed at me; but, to Classroom Paras in general. Our pay scale is a misleading mystery. To read the hourly rate suggests that we receive a good wage. In truth we are classified as “part time”, even though we are in the school house from the beginning of the school day until the end. On a ten month part time scale that salary becomes a non living wage. The “pay scale” itself is a mystery that even our Executive Director can’t explain; even though he helped set it up. Our jobs also lack upward mobility, in fact, the Executive Director will yell at anyone who asks, “If you want more money, get a better job”. Isn’t the Association supposed to help improve our salaries and working conditions? The entire time I have been on the board not one grievance filed by a Classroom Para was ever won. In fact, Classroom Paras are insulted and humiliated by the very people who are supposed to handle the grievances. The Representative Assembly is down beaten and almost nonexistent, in fact part of the reason to keep the building rep list a secret is the attempt by the President and Vice President to replace all Classroom Para building reps with office professional ones. An artificial war is being set up between Classroom Para’s and Office Professionals. Classroom Para Members have nowhere to turn for help. I ran for the board and then the executive board so that I could do more than be a witness to these activities. This just is not a case of preferring one group over another. This is a case of gross inequality, not of some third world sect, but of group of Americans workers being assigned a lower status, than their coworkers in the same unit. This type of behavior might still occur in non educated pockets of the population, but should not be occurring in an Education Association.

    Lila Merenbloom
    ESPBC Secretary

  3. Raising the minimum wage drives out jobs and raises prices on other goods and services. only a fool would think otherwise.

    1. This false claim has been raised every time a raise in the minimum wage has been proposed. History and facts show that this is not the case. Instead it has increased the prosperity of the nation.

      1. History and facts? That is why my home, which was built in 1913 for $5,000 is now worth $500,000. My 2014 dollars are worth one cent each, in 1913 money. That kind of inflation is how our government creates the illusion of prosperity.

  4. I do NOT think it is a good idea to raise the minimum wage. People who work in minimum wage jobs are teenagers and students, not people supporting families. If businesses are forced to increase wages, there are only two ways to do that, either raise prices or lay people off. Neither option is good for the economy.

    1. Are you generalizing? I know at least 150 ADULTS working in min. wage jobs – or below living wage jobs – (All of them educational support personnel (ESP) by the way, many with Bachelors and Masters) who might benefit – not really, because states that are not right to work states, like WA state – ESP wouldn’t benefit from any sort of min wage increase because we all have to – must – be part of a Union. And even then, the ratio of cost of living to what an ESP makes in the Seattle area is an absolute joke. I work full time, have a Masters, single mom with two kids and we “live on” $16k a yr. $15 an hour wouldn’t do squat for a single parent. And in WA state, classified staff are not considered anything more than glorified moms who wanted to make a little extra cash by the school districts they work in. So, if my “teen” can get
      $15 an hour to contribute to our living expenses, great – because I’;m not gonna be benefiting from it any other way.

    2. If you think low minimum wages don’t effect families and students you must not live in my district and haven’t seen first hand how poverty negatively impacts education.

    3. You are behind the times. Many adults including Seniors are working at minimum wage jobs because that is all that is available. Especially in
      the former rust belt.

      1. And the rust belt is trying hard in several places to develop as stronger industrial, entrepreneurial base. Lets look at creating new business adventures into the future that will help everyone in someway to want education and work environments that reflect taking care of each other and being interdependent on each others skills and interests. We will always have social problems; can we not develop a business structure that brings people who want to help with those who need the help without creating negative finger pointing at those in need.

    1. Increase the minimum wage without increase jobs at all levels of the work force is adding to the spiral downward. Better to spend time and what few dollars there are in developing businesses, bringing industry back to the USA, encouraging unions to work on supporting job skills and new manufacturing, delivery, and education methods rather than just money issues and treating single parent, teens, and Seniors as humans who can viably contribute to the work place and not just as cardboard characters in the workplace taking away space from an imaginary group of unemployed. Americans at every level, gender, age belong to that imaginary group just as every level, gender, age make up the unemployed.

  5. Do Not Raise minimum wage. If you raise the minimum wage it will not help people in the long run. It will only drive prices higher on all other goods and services. You think prices are high now just wait till minimum wage goes up.

  6. It’s about school, only because it’s about everybody. A better wage for workers results in increased tax revenues which can be used for staffing our schools and other consistent needs of the community.

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