The Teacher Pay Penalty is Bigger than Ever

Monday, August 15, 2016 at 8:00 AM by

Public school teachers earn significantly less than comparable workers – and the gap is growing wider, making it more difficult to attract new teachers to the profession.

Nationally, public school teachers earned 17.0% less per week worked than other workers in 2015, according to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute. That wage gap has tripled since 1979, when the wage gap was 5.6% between teachers and other workers. The analysis controls for age, education, race/ethnicity, geographical region, marital status, and gender.

In Wisconsin, the wage gap means that public school teachers earn $229 per week less than other workers with the same level of education. Teachers earn less than other college graduates in every state in the U.S.

Teachers earn less than other college graduates

Teachers not in a union face a larger wage penalty than teachers in a union, according to the report.

When benefits are included, teachers still earn less than other workers: 11.1% less per week worked.

When teachers earn less than workers in other fields, it becomes harder for schools to attract and retain high-quality teachers. Some Wisconsin school districts have reported struggling to hire teachers, and as the wage gap grows, schools will face an even more difficult time attracting candidates to fill vacant positions.    If we want to make sure that schools are able to hire well-qualified teachers to teach Wisconsin students, we need to make sure we can offer potential teachers a job with competitive salaries and benefits and a good working environment.

Read the full report here: The Teacher Pay Gap is Wider than Ever, from the Economic Policy Institute.

Tamarine Cornelius

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