Shawn Sheehan won “teacher of the year” honors in Oklahoma, but earns less than novice teachers in many other states. Photo: Oklahoma Department of Education
Shawn Sheehan, Oklahoma’s teacher of the year, has six years of experience as a high school math teacher and a master’s degree, writes Matt Barnum on The 74. Sheehan earns $35,419 year, or just over $38,000, including benefits.
Teacher pay is very low in the Sooner state, reports Barnum.
The average starting salary in the state is just over $31,000, among the lowest in the country. A Tulsa teacher with a master’s degree and 13 years’ experience still makes under $40,000; a teacher with a doctorate, National Board Certification, and 33 years’ experience makes just less than $60,000.
South Dakota and Mississippi, which pay even less, are raising teacher pay. Yet, 59 percent of Oklahoma voters rejected a ballot initiative that would have raised the sales tax to boost teacher pay by $5,000 a year.
Oklahoma is turning to uncertified teachers to cope with a teacher shortage.