New report on teacher pay

Posted by Economic Policy Institute on June 10, 2019

The teacher weekly wage penalty hit 21.4 percent in 2018, a record high
Trends in the teacher wage and compensation penalties through 2018

In 2018, teacher strikes in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Colorado raised the profile of deteriorating teacher pay as a critical public policy issue. Teacher protests have continued in many states into 2019, and there have been several prominent strikes in major cities including Los Angeles, Oakland, and Denver. Teacher protests gained sufficient national attention to merit a Time magazine cover story in September 2018 (Reilly 2018).

Teachers, students, parents, and community supporters protested cutbacks in public education spending and a squeeze on teacher pay that have persisted well into the economic recovery from the Great Recession. Spending reductions affect resources available to schools, which influence numerous decisions such as whether the school has adequate support personnel, reasonable class sizes, and competitive compensation for both teachers and nonteacher staff. Spending cuts over the recovery were not the result of weak state economies. Rather, many state legislatures and governors cut spending in order to finance tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. This report underscores the crisis in teacher pay by updating our data series on the teacher wage and compensation penalty—the percent by which public school teachers are paid less in wages and compensation than other college-educated workers—and by providing new regression-based estimates of the teacher weekly wage penalty in each state.

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