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TEACHERS: Ten Revealing Facts on Our Profession

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U.S. RANKS SEVENTH IN THE WORLD FOR TEACHER PAY—BUT PAYS LESS THAN HALF OF WHAT THE NO. 1 PAYS.

The US consistently ranks seventh in the world for average teacher pay. At the top of the payscale, a US elementary school teacher makes $67,000 a year, and a high school teacher makes $71,000 a year on average. In Luxembourg, the No. 1 country for teacher salary elementary school educators make up to $124,000 a year on average, and high school teachers make $138,000 a year. Other countries that beat the US in teacher pay include Switzerland, South Korea, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, and for elementary school teachers, Ireland.

 

WRONG DIRECTION. The NEA found that the average teacher salary actually decreased, rather than increased, over the past decade by 4.5%, when adjusted for inflation. Average starting salaries for teachers have also decreased in the past decade, dropping 2.9% when adjusting for inflation. This means that teachers today have less money in a significantly more expensive world.

 

EVERYONE AGREES. According to a 2018 PDK Poll, 71% of Americans believe teachers deserve to be paid more. When only parents were polled, that number rose to 74%. The poll also found that among teachers who "feel undervalued by their community," who think their pay is unfair, or who earn less than $45,000 annually, 62% have considered leaving the profession. A majority of teachers — 55% — said they wouldn't want their child to follow them into the profession, citing inadequate pay and benefits as a chief reason.

 

​NET LOSS. Some 97% of low-income students rely on school for internet access, but 40 million students do not have high-speed Internet in school.

QUALITY IS THE DIFFERENCE. Teacher quality is one of the most significant factors related to student achievement. In the U.S., 14% of new teachers resign by the end of their first year, 33% leave within their first 3 years, and almost 50% leave by their 5th year.

 

HIGH AND LOW. In schools made up of 75% or more low-income students, there are 3 times the number of out-of-field teachers than in wealthier school districts.

MAJOR MINOR. Teachers are still overwhelmingly white and female, despite the fact that student populations are much more diverse. Approximately half of the nation's public school students are non-white. About 7 percent of teachers are black and only 2 percent are Asian.

PUBLIC QUALITY. Public school teachers have a higher percentage of master’s degrees—48 percent compared to 36 percent in private schools. More public school teachers participate in some form of professional development every year than private school teachers do.

 

PRIVATE EYES. The percentage of new teachers (less than four years of teaching experience) is higher in private schools at 16 percent, compared with public schools at 11 percent. However, due to higher salaries and better benefits packages, teachers eventually gravitate toward public schools. A common complaint you hear from private schools is they feel like a feeder system for the public schools.

 

TURNOVER TORNADO. Eight percent of teachers leave the profession each year. When you consider that the same portion of educators shift schools, the overall annual turnover rate becomes 16 percent across the nation. In fact, roughly nine out of every 10 teachers hired each year are replacing colleagues who left voluntarily, more than two-thirds of whom quit before retirement.