Teacher Salary Penalties Remain Considerable When Compared to other Professions

Heard the same issue when I was in college after high school and trying to decide what I wanted to do. Pretty much Uncle Sam had plans for me when I decided I was not ready for college. I decided what I was going to do and foiled Uncle Sam’s choice for me.

In relation to the value teacher’s provide to the students taught in poorer or lesser environments as compared to private or suburban supported schools, their pay should be commensurate to the issues. Public schooling has deteriorated over the years and the support for them is being drained off to private enterprises called schools too. There is something lost in this besides funding and that is never having the exposure to other elements of society. That is a different study.

In Michigan, the financial support for schools was removed from the property taxes and funded through other taxes. It seems to have worked pretty well in Michigan. It is better since Repubs lost the House and the Senate (they had control of the Senate for 20 years) and a Dem Governor. Still an issue with the wealthier areas around Detroit getting more funds per student. And pay could always be better for teachers.

There appears to be a glint of improvement overall for Michigan Public schools.

Teacher pay penalty still looms large: Trends in teacher wages and compensation through 2022, Economic Policy Institute, Sylvia Allegretto

The trends in teacher wages and compensation through 2022. A briefing by the Economic Policy Institute.

Key findings

  • The pay penalty for teachers or the gap between the weekly wages of teachers and college graduates. Those working in other professions grew to a record 26.4% in 2022. This reflects a significant increase from 6.1% in 1996. 
  • Teachers tend to receive better benefits packages than other professionals do. The advantage is not large enough to offset the growing wage penalty for teachers. 
  • On average, teachers earned 73.6 cents for every dollar other professionals made in 2022. This is much less than the 93.9 cents on the dollar they made in 1996.

Why does this matter?

Teachers have one of the most consequential jobs in the country—they have the future of the U.S. in front of them every day. But teaching is becoming a less appealing career choice for new college graduates. Not only are levels of compensation low, but teaching is becoming increasingly stressful as teachers are forced to navigate battles over curriculum and COVID-19 related mandates as well as rising incidence of violence in schools.

Low pay makes recruiting and retaining highly qualified teachers difficult. A lack of well-qualified teachers means we cannot equip future tech innovators, researchers, and educators with the training they need to emerge as leaders. 

How to fix it

The downward trend in teacher pay must be reversed. Local and state politicians and community members can show respect for the profession by significantly boosting teacher pay. Targeted policy action is needed on school funding as well. State and local governments will require federal support to maintain and improve resources for schools. Finally, public-sector collective bargaining should be expanded since unions can advocate for improved job quality and a higher level of resources.

Full Report can be found at the same link.

Other Sources Addressing Teachers Salary

The Right and Wrong Way to Raise Educator Pay, NEA, Tim Walker.