Unwieldy Health Costs Often Stand Between Teachers and Higher Pay

USA Today

As teacher strikes flared this spring in more than half a dozen states, from West Virginia to Arizona, protesters bemoaned stagnant salaries, overcrowded classrooms and a lack of basic supplies such as textbooks and computers.

Often missing from hand-scrawled placards and fiery speeches was an issue that has contributed greatly to the financial woes of America’s schools: skyrocketing health care costs.

Many teachers, like other public employees, have traditionally accepted a trade-off: In exchange for relatively low salaries, they could expect relatively generous benefits, including pensions and low- or no-cost health premiums.

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