ARKANSAS, USA — Though the issue of teacher pay came up during the special session in August, lawmakers took no action towards making any changes.
Since then, school districts like the ones in Little Rock and Russellville have taken it upon themselves to raise teacher pay.
Gwen Ford Faulkenberry, an educator in Arkansas, explained that though that is a good start, there's still a long road ahead.
"This summer, in partnership with for our people, and educators all over this state, put together a rally at the capitol to basically beg legislators to put teacher pay raises on the special session agenda,” said Faulkenberry.
Like many educators, she also hopes that she'll be able to see their salaries go up.
"We're held to high standards, but we're not paid like professionals,” said Faulkenberry.
Education advocates took to the state capitol again on Monday, which was much like what we saw over the summer.
Faulkenberry said it's been a waiting game with state leaders, and back in August, some lawmakers explained that it's an issue that will be better addressed during the upcoming general session.
“They've all come up with proposals, and we should be seeing a proposal today for something really great for teachers to go into the session in January," explained Faulkenberry.
Lawmakers met behind closed doors and made their suggestions to various officials, starting with State Senator Joyce Elliot.
"Beginning of the 23-24 school year, this is something else to consider. Arkansas teachers shall have a minimum compensation that's competitive with surrounding states," said Elliot.
Elliot isn't the only state lawmaker that has called for teacher raises.
“Arkansas teachers deserve a raise, and a $4,000 raise is what we should be shooting for and is attainable. Therefore, my recommendation is a 425 per pupil increase,” said State Representative, Megan Godfrey.
Faulkenberry said that if state leaders were to actually take action, she believes it would help keep teachers in Arkansas and encourage future educators.
“People who go to college and graduate with a four-year degree, don't want to get out and, and have to do all the things teachers do for $36,000 a year or $38,000 a year,” added Faulkenberry.
The report that lawmakers worked on, on Monday will eventually be the list of suggestions when the next session begins on January 9.
The committee will meet again on Tuesday morning to hammer out more details of what will be in that report.