Higher Teacher Pay, Please

February 20, 2014

Coolidge honored teachers, and often supported pay raises for them.

In 1919, the same year that he opposed a public-sector police union, Coolidge wrote from Boston to the mayor of Northampton that he was concerned about teachers’ compensation: “It has become notorious that the pay for this most important function is much less than that which prevails in commercial life and business activities.”

Coolidge quoted Roger Ascham, the teacher of Queen Elizabeth, on the absurdity of underpaying teachers: “God that sitteth in Heaven laugheth their choice to scorn.”

Coolidge even believed that the federal government ought to create something that did not, then, yet exist, a Department of Education in Washington. “Much good could be accomplished through the establishment of a Department of Education,” he wrote, for example, in his December 6, 1927 State of the Union address.

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