My mother was a teacher, public schools for 30 years though in a different state. Salaries are lower than most ppl would like, especially when considering the amount of education (both time and cost) necessary. My mother worked in the city to make more money and she was lucky in that regard. A couple things to consider here though. First off that low starting salary of - what is it, $40-50k - that's for 9 months work. If it were the full 12 months it would be 55-70/annually. Many folks in many other industries start out around that range fresh out of school.
Also consider the benefits that come with a teacher role. At least in my mothers case, the teachers union she was in provided absurdly great health insurance. My father worked for Westinghouse, and we used my mothers health insurance for everything - not sure we really ever had anything out of pocket (or out of her paycheck for that matter). Not to mention a FULL pension at 30 years - again nothing out of her pocket for that.
Not trying to say teachers shouldn't make more money (I have 3 kids in the district right now and want the teachers happy
, just wanted to post some other information to think about here..
Also, maybe the school districts could save $$ by loosening the education requirements for the lower grades? idk