At the end, the teaching profession has to be attractive enough, so that a young person decides to make a career out of it, go to university and get a Bachelor/Master degree.
I am pretty sure that this very heated and ugly discussion doesn't makes the job look alot more attractive So I hope you got too much teachers in the US right now or be ready to pay them more.
I just don't see somebody spend 4-6 years of their live at university, paying tuition fees in order to get into a profession that does pay a mediocre sallery.
Just put yourself in the position of somebody who thinks about becoming a teacher.
So in order to become a teacher you have to spend about 40.000 Dollars in tuition fees for your education... then you are supposed to work for the same cash as Joe Average who earned money for the last few years because he could start looking for work right after high school.
Sure you have to keep it somehow in check, with reality.
But don't compare it to the averege workers income... compare their income to the average income of people with higher education.
As for a little international comparison:
In Germany people starting their civil service career as a teacher earn about 2900-3300€ a month... depending on the state. That would translate to about $46.000 Dollar.
After a 20year career a teacher earns an average of 4000€ ($5200) a month. => $62.000 / yr.
The exact situation can differ of course depending on the actual teaching profession, and so on.
We don't have killer tuition fees in Germany.
If teachers are civil servants, they can't be fired. They can be ordered on a assignment somewhere in their state though and they traditionally are not allowed to go on strike.