Average teacher salary nationwide down 4.5 percent, NEA report finds

Wisconsin’s average teacher salary drops to 33rd in the nation

From the National Education Association

The national average teacher salary, adjusted for inflation, has decreased 4.5 percent over the past decade, according to the annual NEA Rankings and Estimates released Monday.

Wisconsin’s average teacher salary dropped to 33rd in the nation, down from 18th in the nation just seven years ago, according to the report. Wisconsin’s average teacher salary was $51,469 in 2017-18, compared to the national average of $60,477.

The report’s findings underscore why educators from Arizona to California to Texas and beyond have united in a national #RedforEd movement to advocate for the resources and learning conditions that help all students succeed.

“Across the nation educator pay continues to erode, expanding the large pay gap between what teachers earn and what similarly educated and experienced professionals in other fields earn,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “Educators don’t do this work to get rich, they do this work because they believe in students. But their pay is not commensurate with the dedication and expertise they bring to the profession.”

NEA also collects data on teacher starting salaries and every year, the data show that starting teacher salaries are too low and, for the last decade, still lower than pre-Recession levels. This year is no different. The 2017-18 average teacher starting salary is $39,249. After adjusting for inflation, beginning teacher salaries have decreased by 2.91 percent in the last decade. Wisconsin’s average starting teacher salary was $38,181, which is 25th in the nation and below the national average.

The states where teachers have lost the most ground include Wisconsin and Michigan, where Scott Walker and Rick Snyder gutted bargaining rights and stripped union protections. Both governors were voted out last election. Teacher pay also has dropped dramatically in Indiana, where lawmakers require school districts to replace objective salary schedules with harmful merit pay systems.

Teachers are paid 21.4% percent less than similarly educated and experienced professionals, according to a recent Economic Policy Institute (EPI) report, which found that the “teacher pay gap” reached a record high in 2018. This difference between teacher pay and other college-educated professionals’ pay is partly due to the persistent gender gap in wages — across all full-time jobs in the U.S., women earn about 80 percent of men’s salaries. Historically, teaching has been a profession made up mostly of women. Today, 76.6 percent of educators are women.

The report also reveals that 63 percent of reported public school districts still offer a starting salary below $40,000. Nearly 300 districts pay first-year teachers less than $30,000 a year. And it’s not just first-year teachers: in some states, teachers will never earn professional pay. In 1,025 school districts, even the highest paid teachers, most with advanced degrees and decades of experience in the classroom, are paid less than $50,000.

“How can we recruit and retain quality teachers for our students if we don’t pay them what they’re worth?” asked Eskelsen García. “It is time to show respect to those professionals who dedicate their lives to students and building the future of our communities. Professional work deserves professional pay.”

The NEA report provides comparative state data and national averages on a host of important public education statistics, teacher salaries, student enrollment, and revenue and expenditures for the most recent school year.

Highlights from this year’s report and NEA’s salary data:

Teacher Salary

  • The national average teacher salary increased from $59,539 in 2016-17 to $60,477 in 2017-18.
  • Average teacher salaries in 2017-18 ranged from a high of $84,227 in New York to a low of $44,926 in Mississippi.
  • If one does not adjust for inflation, the national average teacher salary has increased by 11.2 percent since 2008-09. However, after adjusting for inflation, the national average teacher salary has decreased by 4.5 percent over the past decade.
  • Sixty-three percent of reported public school districts still offer a starting salary below $40,000.

Expenditure per Student

  • The U.S. average per-student expenditure in 2017‒18, based on fall enrollment, was $12,602. The following states had the highest per-student expenditures: New York ($23,894), District of Columbia ($21,001), and New Jersey ($20,171). Idaho ($6,809), Utah ($7,187), and Arizona ($8,123) had the lowest.
  • In 2018-19, expenditures per student are projected to increase by 2.5 percent to $12,920, up from $12,602 in 2017‒18. This compares with a 2.7 percent increase in total current expenditures.
  • Over the last decade, the average per-student expenditure has risen by 20.6 percent from $10,715 to $12,920. After inflation adjustment, the expenditure per student in enrollment has increased by 3.3 percent. 

School Revenues

  • School funding continues to be state and local oriented. In 2016–17, 47.0 percent of public school revenue came from state funds, while 47.1 percent came from state funds in 2017–18. Local funds contributed similar percentages in both 2016‒17 (45.1 percent) and 2017‒18 (45.4 percent). In those two years, federal funds constituted 7.9 percent and 7.5 percent, respectively, of K-12 education revenue. 

“If we’re serious about every child’s future, let’s get serious about doing what works,” said Eskelsen García. “We cannot recruit and retain the committed, qualified educators that students deserve without making a major investment in raising salaries. In order to ensure that every student has a qualified teacher in the classroom and caring professionals in schools, we must make a better investment in our educators.”

Click the following link for an interactive map showing individual state data and rankings: http://neatoday.org/redfored/#map

Find out more about Wisconsin teacher salaries at weac.org/salaries.

NEA has produced the Rankings and Estimates report for more than 70 years. The complete report can be found at: http://www.nea.org/home/44479.htm

Democrats propose $100 billion for schools and to boost educator salaries while safeguarding bargaining rights

In the wake of teacher unrest throughout the nation, Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday proposed a plan to direct $100 billion toward public schools and educators’ salaries while safeguarding their right to bargain collectively through their unions on salaries, benefits and working conditions.

Democrats said their plan would be paid for by revisiting the Trump tax cuts for the top 1%. “Instead of allowing millionaires, billionaires and massive corporations to keep their tax breaks and special-interest loopholes, Democrats would invest in teachers and students,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.

“That teacher pay has fallen so far behind matters a great deal, and not just to teachers themselves but to all of us,” they said. NEA President Lily Eskelsen García participated in a news conference to announce the plan.

 

 

Read more:

Dems want to scrap tax cut for rich to fund teachers’ raises

WASHINGTON – Congressional Democrats want to give a big salary bump to teachers and pay for it by canceling the tax cut for the nation’s top 1 percent of earners. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday are expected to propose giving states and school districts $50 billion over a decade for teacher raises and recruitment.

Democrats Just Rolled Out A School Funding Plan To Address Teacher Walkouts

As more and more teachers protest their states’ funding cuts, Democrats in Congress say they have a plan to restore school spending and boost teacher pay. On Capitol Hill on Tuesday, party leaders joined teachers’ union officials to promote a slate of policies aimed at addressing the growing number of teacher walkouts that have shaken up statehouses across the country.

Democrats have a better deal for teachers and our kids, too: Chuck Schumer & Nancy Pelosi

CLOSE Democrats would invest in teacher pay, modern classrooms, special ed and low-income schools, and pay for it all. We’d also protect collective bargaining. For the better part of the 20th century, being a teacher in America meant being a part of the middle class.

Lack of support, low salaries, over-testing contribute to high teacher turnover, report says

Two-thirds of teachers who leave the profession are beginning or mid-career educators who are walking away from the job for reasons other than retirement, according to a report released this week. The report from the Learning Policy Institute says common reasons for teachers leaving the profession include a lack of administrative support, low salaries, testing and accountability pressures, lack of opportunities for advancement, and poor working conditions.

The report says turnover rates are lowest in the Northeast, where states tend to offer higher pay, support smaller class sizes, and make greater investments in education. They are highest in the South. Shortages also persist in specific areas: mathematics, science, special education, English language development, and foreign languages. In addition, turnover rates are 50% higher in Title I schools, which serve more low-income students.

Teacher attrition in the United States is about twice as high as in high-achieving jurisdictions like Finland, Singapore, and Ontario, Canada, it says.

To stem teacher turnover, the Learning Policy Institute says, “federal, state, and district policymakers should consider improving the key factors associated with turnover: compensation, teacher preparation and support, and teaching conditions.”

The report says:

Addressing early attrition is critical to stemming the country’s continuing teacher shortage crisis. It is also important for school effectiveness. The cost of attrition to student learning and district budgets is significant. Teachers are the number one in-school influence on student achievement. Research finds that high rates of turnover harm student achievement. In high-turnover schools, the inexperienced and underqualified teachers often hired to fill empty spots also have a negative impact on student learning.

Read the entire report:

Teacher Turnover: Why It Matters and What We Can Do About It

This new study looks at who is leaving, why, who is impacted, and policy considerations.

Read more from edsource.org:

Don’t slam the desk on the way out. If fewer teachers quit, the shortage would end

Credit: Tue Nam Ton for EdSource Teachers in America are dropping out, leaving the profession at twice the rate of teachers in high-achieving school systems like those in Finland and Ontario, Canada. And they’re departing in large part because their principals do not support them, according to a report released Tuesday.

Help me be there for the kids, young teacher asks Milwaukee School Board

Allison Watson wants to stay in MPS because she loves her students, but it’s getting harder and harder for exceptional educators like her to do so. In a very personal and emotional testimony, she asked the Milwaukee School Board to fund the salary schedule they agreed to last year.

“Having a competitive compensation plan is critical to recruiting and retaining great teachers for our students,” she told the board.

“I am an educator but I am also a person that needs to make my rent, car payments, grad school loans, cable and internet payments, insurance, credit card bills, and heat and gas bills monthly.  I never thought I would be 30 years old and barely making ends meet; going to my parent’s house to have them buy me groceries.

“Without a competitive compensation plan, I will never be able to buy a house, pay for a wedding or be able to afford to have children.  But forget the larger purchases for a moment and think about the impact on my classroom.  I will definitely not be able to supplement the lack of supplies given to my students and my classroom.  I won’t be able to buy the glue that’s never provided or the crayons or construction paper.  I will not be able to buy more books or play dough or toys; color ink for my personal printer that I keep at school to make new centers or even simple things like cleaning supplies and wet wipes. I won’t be able to buy coats for my students that don’t have them or socks for kids when it’s snowing.”

Allison said she could be paid far more working in the private sector but, “I don’t want to do that.  It’s not where my heart lies.  I belong in a classroom and I am an exceptional educator.  My kids and their families deserve to keep exceptional educators.”

She concluded: “I really hope that you will prioritize our students by creating a budget that will attract and retain great teachers. I am actively looking for opportunities in other districts and so are many of your new teachers.  We can see the writing on the wall and for us; if you don’t fund the salary schedule, MPS is a dead end in terms of career advancement.  There are two reasons I am still with MPS and haven’t accepted another position.  I am fiercely loyal to my kids and their families and because an MTEA member texts me every week to see how I am doing and make sure I am OK.  Don’t let me disappoint her, don’t let me disappoint my kids.  Give me a reason to stay and be as fiercely loyal to MPS as I am to my students, their families and the MTEA.”

Watch Allison’s testimony:
https://www.facebook.com/197466610278275/videos/997017456989849/