Lafayette, La. - Teachers, they're the men and women who dedicate thier lives to inspiring students in the classroom. Often times grooming the next President of The United States without even knowing it.
In light of all the good that our educators do, Louisiana's average teacher salary continues to fall behind other states in the south. So why are teachers getting the short end of the stick when it comes to thier paychecks?
According to some recent data from The Southern Regional Education Board, the southern average is $55,205 while the national average is just over $64,100.
In the south there are 16 states and Louisiana is ranked 12th with the lowest pay just above Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi and West Virginia.
"Teachers deserve more pay because of the amount of work that they have," said Senegal.
In Louisiana an educators salary starts around $41,750 and can go as high as $57,620 bucks. During the 2019-2020 school year teachers got a good $51,500.
"People don't realize how much of they're own money they put into it along with thier extra time." said Rodrigue.
So why are our teachers getting paid so little? It's a combination of income growth, change in salaries over the past decade, length of time to reach tenure and pupil-teacher ratio. One economist and real estate agent thinks us not being a free market is the problem.
"Public school system is a social service so it needs to be regulated by the government, ideally you would want education to be privatized throughout. This way people get what they're worth and not just getting what the government or governor decides what they get paid," said Feehery.
Now lawmakers and Governor Edwards say they're trying as they gave our teachers an $800 annual pay hike this year.
Samuel and Taylor's parents are teachers, they say like others their parents do more than just tutor because they care.
"My mom is getting Christmas gifts so it's like she always gets everything for her class, she wants to make sure she gets something for everyone," said Rodrigue.
"They tend to have to do a dual role as being almsot like a daycare specilaist and a teacher, almost like sculpture of minds. It's unfair that they don't get the appreciation and payment they deserve," said Senegal.
Keep in mind this survey comes at a time when the shortage of teachers in Louisiana and nationally is worsening alongside the amount of retirements happening each year.
One other thing thats making it harder to increase teacher pay is that fewer teachers are entering the profession which has made it hard for school leaders to fill classroom openings.