My community theme that I worked with this term was education, specifically in the field of non-profit childcare facilities. Over several years, I have worked with a childcare facility called Charis kids, and I worked with their pre-school and after-school programs. Through working with this organization, I grew a love for working with kids, but I also became passionate about the work of non-profit organizations like Charis Kids. I found through my time with Charis Kids there were lots of issues with funding, and the ability to keep good teachers due to the lack of good salaries.
I believe that teachers in schools, and in non-profit organizations should be better compensated for their work. With more awareness, and better funding, we can have some of the best minds raising and teaching our children. We must see donating to a childcare provider as not an investment into the organization, but an investment into the children that will soon be adults, and leaders of the world. We cannot take likely the work that these educators do for our future.
Become More Informed: A Proposal
When one thinks of a nonprofit, the number zero comes to mind — zero being the amount of profit made at the end of a year. Nonprofits have always run into issues of not having enough money to complete the tasks they seek to accomplish. According to fundraising professional Rob Henson, more than 80 percent of nonprofits fail within the first five years (Henson). A key factor in those failures is a lack of initial capital and continuing funding. Whether the organization is funded through the government or private donations, there is always a need for more money. However, not all nonprofits have issues with funding. Those that survive those first five years usually are funded well at the beginning, and come up with a funding plan after their initial capital is used up. Lack of funding creates a huge impact on the employees who work for these organizations; specifically, there is a great effect on caretakers and teachers who work for nonprofit childcare facilities. In an interview, Gretchen Corbin, the preschool teacher for Charis Kids Childcare in Cannon Beach, Oregon, had this to say about nonprofits’ lack of money: “I feel that our culture needs to invest more into people that invest into teaching children. In our culture, we simply just don’t invest enough” (Corbin). The lack of investment that is made in these organizations is becoming more apparent, and it scares away the brilliant minds these nonprofits need. To keep some of the best minds in nonprofits, initial spending should be focused on paying the salaries of the teachers before the administrators. More so, the government grants these organizations receive must allow nonprofits to do more than simply break-even; they should allow them to begin to create a reserve for times of difficult fundraising periods. Nonprofits are neglected despite their hard work, and they need to be seen as an investment for the future, especially in regards to childcare and the investment in children’s future.
The shortage of funding for nonprofits has been an issue for a long time. For many, it is hard to want to invest in a nonprofit, because those who donate will not necessarily get anything physical in return for their money. There is often a selfish desire for people to want to see a return on their investment. Nothing in this world is free, and for nonprofits to operate effectively, they must be able to pay for their operations and the staff who run them. In terms of nonprofit childcare facilities, there is a scarcity of money and support for the facilities. Many teachers in this industry find it difficult to support themselves due to the absence of a substantial salary. According to Pay Scale: Human Capital, the average yearly salary for a nonprofit teacher can range from $15,000 to $36,000 (PayScale). These workers need to be given proper compensation for the work they do. Right now, there is a general neglect in paying for the work that is done to help raise the next generation of kids. It is time that an investment is made in the nonprofits and workers who invest in next generation of world leaders.
Lack of teacher pay is more than just a modern issue. This issue has been around long before today, and the issues then, still seem to be issues now. In a newspaper article from 1917 titled “Just Salaries” or Just Salaries, the author had this to say about teachers’ wage issues: “Teachers should not be satisfied with salaries, ‘fixed regular wages,’ unless those salaries are fixed in a fair, businesslike manner. There are Writing Scales, Arithmetic Tests and all other manner of ‘Efficiency Standards’-why not a ‘Uniform Standard’ or ‘Just Standard’ for ‘Teacher Salaries’?” (Hagenbach,468) The difficult truth to face is that one-hundred years after this was written, educators still run into the same issue today. Teachers in 2017 are extremely underpaid, and they do not have the full investment of society. It cannot take another 100 years to realize that teachers and childcare providers are neglected. Their pay should reflect their important work.
One of the major excuses given for the low salaries of educators is the view that there is just not enough money to be distributed. Especially when it comes to nonprofits, it can be hard to evenly distribute money to teacher salaries after the operations expenses are paid. In an article titled Raising teacher salaries; the funds are there, the author points out that the funds for teacher salaries are available and can be better used to help the educators make a reasonable living. The author analyzed the funds that are dispersed amongst school districts and nonprofits and found there is almost $3 billion in funding that is being misused. This money is not being given to the educators who do the actual teaching. “Demands for more equitable teacher salaries compete against the established school practice of paying non-teaching personnel more than teachers and the stereotype that teaching is temporary work for single women who can’t get better jobs” (Haberman). The claim that there is not enough money to go around is just not true. Instead of funding being equitably distributed, it is going to administration and workers who are not teaching and training children. Administrative faculty are important, but the pay they receive should not take away from those who are working with the kids directly.
Whether it be for school teachers or nonprofit caretakers, now is the time for salaries to be made a higher priority. According to Pay Scale: Human Capital, the average yearly salary for nonprofit administrators can be anywhere from $40,000 to $60,000. A nearly $20,000 difference in annual pay between administrators and teachers is far too extreme, and it is another sign of neglect of the teachers’ salaries. Those in charge of funding should consider that teachers and childcare providers need to be some of the brightest minds. Teaching and growing the next generation should be considered an investment. More pay must be given to the teachers in schools and nonprofits to encourage well-educated people to take on the role of raising kids up. Children deserve to be well-educated and well-versed in proper manners and to know how to be socially acceptable citizens. Often, due to poor caretaking from excellent teachers and childcare providers, kids are socially awkward and simply do not know how to interact with society. This must change; otherwise, the generations to come will become a liability, rather than an improvement, in society.
There are some who would say there is more than enough money being generated for nonprofit organizations. Their claim is that nonprofits do not know how to raise enough initial capital and continue fundraising to fund their organization. In Small Nonprofits: Solving Big Problems, a how-to guide for starting and running a nonprofit, the author’s claim nonprofits rely on government funding too much and do not depend on private donations enough to stay functional (Francis,Talansky). In an article called Teacher’s Salary Differentials and Equality of Education Opportunity, the writer, Alan L. Gustman, attempted to come up with a logical way to raise teachers’ salaries using a logarithm to create a blanket salary for all nonprofit educators. After extensive research, Gustman came to this conclusion: “Our findings strongly suggest that achieving equality of educational opportunity is a much more difficult task than the courts and others have perceived. The expedient of using educational expenditures as measure of educational opportunity masks a host of complex problems” (Gustman). Statistics clearly show there is no easy way to moderate and maintain nonprofit teacher salaries. Statistics are against nonprofits’ success, and the claim is that the success of nonprofits is strictly on the organizations themselves.
Nonprofits clearly need help, and one of the ways they can get it is through grants that are more than just funds to break-even. Nonprofits need to be able to function when the funding is not coming in. According to Jeanne Bell, in her article titled, Nonprofit Budgets Have to Balance: False, she says government grants must allow nonprofits to build a little bit of revenue in order to put it in a reserve. The reserves would help keep salaries consistently higher and keep organizations from failing due to slow fundraising periods. Beyond just government funding, though, nonprofit childcare organizations need support to take care of children. It is not enough to hope that childcare facilities can fund their whole operation and pay for salaries with only government funds. There must be more awareness and encouragement for donations to be made to keep the best teachers. The donations are not just charitable funds with no return; they are investments into the world’s future.
Those people who work for a nonprofit are not there to make a lot of money. Their contribution to society is, in a lot of ways, payment enough for all that they accomplish. Despite their desire to serve, and specifically serve children, there must be strong consideration to how nonprofit childcare providers can be paid enough money to live and to live well. Someone who serves his or her community with such enthusiasm and care deserves to be well taken care of in return. Nonprofit childcare providers’ roles are of the upmost importance in society. Society should invest in nonprofit teachers, so they can invest in future leaders.
- Haberman, Martin. “Raising teacher salaries: the funds are there.” Education, vol. 125, no. 3, 2005, p. 327. Academic OneFile, http://go.galegroup.com. Accessed 13 Mar. 2017.
- Gustman, Alan L., and M. O. Clement. “Teachers’ Salary Differentials and Equality of Educational Opportunity.” Industrial and Labor Relations Review, vol. 31, no. 1, 1977, pp. 61–70., jstor.org/stable/2522509.
- Hagenbach, May E., and Katherine D. Blake. “‘Just Salaries’ or Just Salaries.” The Journal of Education, vol. 85, no. 17 (2127), 1917, pp. 468–468., http://www.jstor.org/stable/42769572.
- Francis, Angela, and Jennifer Talansky. “Lobbying Strategy for Nonprofits.” Small Non-profts Solving Big Problems(2012): 1-14. Non-profit Finance Fund. The F.B. Heron Foundation, Dec. 2011. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.
- Bell, Jeanne. “Nonprofit Budgets Have to Balance: False!” Nonprofit Budgets Have to Balance: False! | Blue Avocado. Blue Avacado, 15 May 2008. Web. 13 Mar. 2017.
- “Manage Grant Submissions.” Interview by Robert Henson. Quora. Submittable, Mar. 2007. Web. 13 Mar. 2017.
- “Non-Profit Organization Industry Salaries – Non-Profit Organization Industry Salary Survey – PayScale.” Non-Profit Organization Industry Salary, Average Salaries | PayScale. Pay Scale: Human Capital, 2017. Web. 13 Mar. 2017.
- “Gretchen Corbin: Preschool Teacher.” Interview by Jack Bello. 28 February 2017 Print.
Short Annotated Bibliography
About the Research
The community that I have been working with throughout the term is education specifically through a non-profit child care center called Charis Kids. This organization is a state certified afterschool and preschool, that provides care for the children in the community. I have found through my interviews with the staff, that there is a general displeasure with the financial issues that comes with working for a child care center like this. Two of my interviews suggested that because there is no money to be made in education, smart strong mines avoid it, to be able to make a living. To grow the next generation of adults, we need great minds to educate them, and finances shouldn’t be the downfall of the next generations growth.
Hagenbach, May E., and Katherine D. Blake. “‘JUST SALARIES’ OR JUST SALARIES.” The Journal of Education, vol. 85, no. 17 (2127), 1917, pp. 468–468., www.jstor.org/stable/42769572.
This article is an article from almost hundred years ago, critiquing teacher salaries at the time. The article is extremely brief, but in its few paragraphs it explains that the way that a teacher salary is currently being determined is not accurate. In fact, it goes on to explain that the way in which salaries were being determined were outdated and needed to be updated to pay the teachers better. Being that this is a newspaper article, I feel as though they would have had a lot of information about teacher salaries for the time. This article grabbed my attention, mostly because of how old it is. Since it’s a hundred years old I couldn’t help but see that there is still this issue today for teachers. It’s as though nothing has really changed for teachers. I think this will help give a solid argument that salaries for teachers must change.
Gustman, Alan L., and M. O. Clement. “Teachers’ Salary Differentials and Equality of Educational Opportunity.” Industrial and Labor Relations Review, vol. 31, no. 1, 1977, pp. 61–70., http://www.jstor.org/stable/2522509.
This article does some serious math to determine if there is a way to create a differential equation in order to determine teachers’ salaries based on community need. There are several factors that the article talks about, and most importantly it discusses in depth details of how creating a logarithm would work. The result of the article discusses the fact that creating equality amongst schools for salary and finances is nearly impossible to determine. I think this article could be a potential argument against mine. That as much as I feel like education salaries are not high enough, there may just simply not be a way to determine equality.
Haberman, Martin. “Raising teacher salaries: the funds are there.” Education, vol. 125, no. 3, 2005, p. 327+. Academic OneFile, libproxy.pcc.edu/login?url=http://go.galegroup.com. Accessed 27 Feb. 2017.
This article discusses in detail the budget the school districts work with to operate. This article proposes a specific need for change in regards to how exactly we are spending the educational budget. There is an extensive layout that shows the amount of money being spent, is being wasted and has proved extremely ineffective to raising teachers’ salaries. Their in-depth research shows that the author took a lot of time and energy to determine that there are parts of the budget that could be adjusted to support teacher salaries. This article is perfect for my argument, as it supports that there indeed is money out there. I think an article like this that gives a detailed analysis of changes that can be made is a good way to back my argument.