I hope you acknowledge that you work for the government, and that working for the government is different than working for a private business, and that the real issue is not that you are making 8,000K less than the teachers in some other bigger city, but how much should teachers be making. We are always hearing the teachers whining about their pay and how hard their job is, and how important they are, it’s getting old. Especially when the kids that you are supposed to be “educating” are getting dumber and dumber and the administrators are getting fatter and fatter, and the union is buying up every politician in sight. Teachers’ salaries should be determined not by subjective notions of a “living wage,” but by the amount of money the taxpayers are willing to voluntarily pay for their children’s education. The good thing about teachers, when determining appropriate wages, is that we have a private sector equivalent, private schools, where we already know how much people are willing to pay for their child’s education. You make statements like “every profession should have a cost of living raise” very naively without qualifying. A company cannot continue to increase the wages of its employees if the income of the company does not increase and the effectiveness of their employees goes down. What will happen is the company would go out of business. If the government did not force people to send their kids to public schools, or people were able to get vouchers, parents would pull their kids out of public school faster than you could say “social justice.” You only set yourself up for failure if you detach what you are being paid from what the company is making, or what the customers are willing to pay for your product/service. But since you work for the government you will be the last to go out of business, and what do you care, hey you got CalSTRS. You also say your pay is “far behind.” Everybody feels that they aren’t paid enough, everyone feels like their job is the hardest, the toughest, that nobody understands, but we can’t put our feelings ahead of morality or logic. Public school teachers should be paid what their equivalents in the private schools from their area are paid. From very little research on the interwebs it looks like in California, public school teachers are paid about 20,000K more than private school teachers, so it looks like what would be more appropriate would be a pay decrease not a pay increase.