Teacher salaries are slipping compared to pay in comparable professions, says a study by the Economic Policy Institute.
. . . A comparison of teachers’ wages to those of workers with comparable skill requirements, including accountants, reporters, registered nurses, computer programmers, clergy, personnel officers, and vocational counselors and inspectors, shows that teachers earned $116 less per week in 2002, a wage disadvantage of 12.2%. Because teachers worked more hours per week, the hourly wage disadvantage was an even larger 14.1%.
Teachers have better health and pension benefits, but less overtime pay and fewer bonuses.
Comparing weekly pay is supposed to eliminate the fact that teachers work fewer weeks per year than other professionals, but some teachers ask to be paid on a 52-week calendar, so their income doesn’t drop to zero in the summer. That may throw off the data.
Nationmaster, which offers all sorts of international comparisons, ranks the U.S. fifth in the world for primary teachers’ pay with a 1999 average of $25,707. I have to wonder about some of the reported salaries. Do the Czechs and Hungarians really pay teachers that little? It seems implausible.