The Respect, Advancement, and Increasing Support for Educators (RAISE) Act of 2022

Senator Cory A. Booker and Representatives Adam Schiff, Jahana Hayes, John Larson, & Mark Takano

A quality education is our best investment in our nation's future. Excellent teachers are the foundation of the system that will nurture the genius of every child in America and enhance nation’s health and prosperity.

The Challenge

Despite teachers’ critical role to support all students to thoughtfully engage in our democratic society, to flourish individually, and to participate actively in tomorrow’s workforce, compensation is not commensurate with an educator’s critical responsibilities and required skill sets. Currently, public elementary and secondary teachers earn about 20 percent less than similarly educated professions. Based on a worldwide comparison, the average salary gap between teachers and others with comparable educational backgrounds is greater in the U.S. than any other developed country with available data. Early childhood educators fare far worse, with a national median wage of $11.65 an hour, well below the national living wage threshold.

Even before the COVID pandemic, nearly every state in the nation reported shortages of teachers in high-need subjects like science, math, special education, and English language development. Students of color and students from families experiencing low-incomes are the least likely to have access to a stable educator workforce, with nearly 50 percent higher teacher turnover rates in high poverty schools.

The increased demands on educators during the pandemic has only exacerbated these shortages. The research shows that investments in competitive and equitable teacher salaries, especially in conjunction with a broader effort to support teachers, can improve teacher recruitment and retention. And yet, despite many grassroots campaigns to raise teacher compensation, salary increases have been conservative at best. State and district action has not closed the teacher pay gap, nor successfully reduced teacher shortages. Federal support is necessary to turn the tide.

The RAISE Act of 2022

The Respect, Advancement, and Increasing Support for Educators (RAISE) Act of 2022 would provide a refundable tax credit of up to $15,000 to help boost salaries of early childhood, elementary, and secondary educators to reduce the teacher wage gap and ensure a high-quality education for all students.

More specifically, The RAISE Act would:

  • Provide all eligible early and K12 educators with a $1000 refundable tax credit, regardless of the level of poverty in the school in which they teach.

  • Create a refundable, sliding scale tax credit of up to $15,000 for eligible public elementary and secondary educators.

  • Create a refundable, sliding scale tax credit of up to $15,000 for early childhood educators with a bachelor’s degree and up to a $10,000 credit for those with an associate degree or a Child Development Associate (CDA) certificate.

  • Encourage teacher recruitment and retention in under-resourced schools and communities most in need by utilizing a sliding scale for the tax credit, based on school and early education program poverty levels. Educators teaching in the highest-need areas would be eligible for the highest refundable tax credit of $15,000.

  • Provide labor protections to prevent the tax credit from being used unfairly in labor negotiations.

  • Increase the educator tax deduction from $250 to $500 to offset teacher’s purchases of school supplies.

  • Provide at least $5.2 billion in annual mandatory funding for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act’s Title II (a nearly $3 billion increase), which supports educator recruitment, retention, professional development, and class size reduction, which can improve teaching and learning conditions.

  • Create and fund a federal grant program to support and incentivize local educational agencies to increase teacher salaries, and provide related programs to strengthen, retain, and diversity the educator workforce.

Click here to view the full piece of legislation

Click here for the Press Release from Senator Booker