At a time when the US tax base is under strain, Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman has said there is one group of workers who shouldn’t have to pay tax: teachers.
This would distinguish teaching from all other types of employment as a “class enjoyed,” he told the Bloomberg Virtual New Economy Forum on November 16. Beyond the societal statement it would make, tax relief would increase teachers’ profits. salaries, and that would attract more “more of the best and the brightest” teachers to the field, he said.
Schwarzman came up with the idea last year, as part of what he called a “Marshall Plan” for the American middle class. In addition to eliminating taxes for teachers, he advocated for an increase in the minimum wage and the establishment of more technical training programs in schools.
Amid a pandemic that has shaken school systems and created huge drains on government coffers, the proposal by Schwarzman, a major donor to US President Donald Trump, may be more relevant than ever.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were nearly 4.2 million preschool, elementary, secondary, and special education teachers in the United States in 2017; the average annual salary was $ 58,780. Today, many of these teachers have to either risk teaching in person, or find a way to deliver quality learning through a rectangular screen, or both.
In a report released in September, the Left Institute for Economic Policy found that teachers are paid less than other college graduate workers with similar experience, which discourages graduates from entering the teaching profession and contributes teacher turnover, a particularly acute problem in areas with higher concentrations of people of color. The 8% pre-pandemic teacher turnover rate in the United States is much higher than in places like Finland, Singapore and Ontario, Canada, which are known for their successful school systems and attrition rates teachers closer to 3% or 4%.
Schwarzman also says that America’s education system needs to be improved to be globally competitive, and that there should be more public-private partnerships to achieve this.