Teacher pay is 17% lower than that of comparable workers, new study finds

Teachers are paid 17% less than comparable professionals, and the gap has increased significantly over the past two decades, according to a study released this week by the Economic Policy Institute.

According to the EPI, teachers earned on average 1.8 percent less than other comparable workers in 1994 but by 2015, they earned 17 percent less, adjusted for inflation. Factoring in total compensation, including health benefits and pensions, teachers earned the same as other workers with college degrees in 1994 but 11 percent less by 2015, the report found.

The teacher pay penalty is bigger than ever,” according to a summary of the report. “This erosion of relative teacher wages has fallen more heavily on experienced teachers than on entry-level teachers. Importantly, collective bargaining can help to abate this teacher wage penalty.”

The summary says the finding are important because:

An effective teacher is the most important school-based determinant of education outcomes. It is therefore crucial that school districts recruit and retain high-quality teachers. This is particularly difficult at a time when the supply of teachers is constrained by high turnover rates, annual retirements of longtime teachers, and a decline in students opting for a teaching career—and when demand for teachers is rising due to rigorous national student performance standards and many locales’ mandates to shrink class sizes. In light of these challenges, providing adequate wages and benefits is a crucial tool for attracting and keeping the teachers America’s children need.”

Among the findings:

  • Average weekly wages (inflation adjusted) of public-sector teachers decreased $30 per week from 1996 to 2015, from $1,122 to $1,092 (in 2015 dollars). In contrast, weekly wages of all college graduates rose from $1,292 to $1,416 over this period.
  • For all public-sector teachers, the relative wage gap (regression adjusted for education, experience, and other factors) has grown substantially since the mid-1990s: It was ‑1.8 percent in 1994 and grew to a record ‑17.0 percent in 2015.
  • The relative wage gap for female teachers went from a premium in 1960 to a large and growing wage penalty in the 2000s. Female teachers earned 14.7 percent more in weekly wages than comparable female workers in 1960. In 2015, we estimate a ‑13.9 percent wage gap for female teachers.
  • The wage penalty for male teachers is much larger. The male teacher wage gap was -22.1 percent in 1979 and improved to ‑15.0 percent in the mid-1990s, but worsened in the late 1990s into the early 2000s. It stood at ‑24.5 percent in 2015.

Read the entire report:

The teacher pay gap is wider than ever: Teachers’ pay continues to fall further behind pay of comparable workers

Summary What this report finds: The teacher pay penalty is bigger than ever. In 2015, public school teachers’ weekly wages were 17.0 percent lower than those of comparable workers-compared with just 1.8 percent lower in 1994. This erosion of relative teacher wages has fallen more heavily on experienced teachers than on entry-level teachers.

Comment on Facebook:

Teacher pay gap growing, report says

According to the EPI, teachers earned on average 1.8 percent less than other comparable workers in 1994 but by 2015, they earned 17 percent less.