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Teachers need to be paid real salaries

Besides her role with the 826, Ninive Calegari is a prominent advocate of higher salaries for teachers. "Unbelievably poor decisions" and "valuing all the wrong things" in recent years have resulted in "incredibly bloated salaries for some people and an economy in dire straits", she says.

But there are glimmers of hope, she claims. The head of the public school system in Washington DC recently launched an initiative to see teachers paid up to $131,000 (Pounds 89,958) a year. The Equity Project Charter School, soon to open in New York City, will pay teachers $125,000 (Pounds 86,000) a year - "nearly twice the salary of the average New York City school teacher," says Ms Calegari. "This is still a rich country with a great capacity for innovation and creativity. It's still a democracy where we can make things come true if we try.

"Some school districts are re-prioritising and we're starting to see salaries on the ups of $125,000. We are looking to publicise these stories, let people see what's possible. We need to break out of the echo chamber and get everybody talking, it's an issue crucial to us all.

"I celebrate people who make real money. I just think that teachers need to join them."

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