The Middle reports of teacher shortagesThe U.S. population is estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands. violentAnd Violent far-right attacksRecent research on public schools shows that teacher salaries have fallen to an all-time low.
A reportThe Economic Policy Institute (EPI), Tuesday’s publication, found that while there has been a long-standing pay gap between teachers, and comparable college graduates since the beginning of such data collection by EPI, this gap has reached its highest point in recent years.
In 2021, the report found, teachers’ weekly pay was 23.5 percent less on average than that of other college graduates, adjusted for age, education, race and state of residence. Teachers made about 76c per dollar compared with other college graduates.
The report states that this gap in pay has been growing since the mid-1990s. In 1993, it was only 5.1 percent. Then it started to grow rapidly over the next decade. The highest teacher pay gaps are in Colorado, Oklahoma and Arizona. Teachers make 30 percent less than their non-teaching college-educated peers. Teachers in no state make more than their peers.
Teachers were paid significantly less than other college graduates even after adjusting for benefits. With benefits like retirement packages and health care included, teachers’ overall compensation was still 14.2 percent lower than that of their peers.
The supposed benefit of having summer vacations off of work don’t offset the pay penalties, either; EPI found in a similar reportTeachers still work comparable hours on weekdays in 2019, and many teachers still attend conferences and trainings during the summer.
This pay gap could be a reason for the current teacher shortage. The largest teacher union in the United States, the National Education Association, is located in Washington, D.C. estimatesThere is a shortage in teachers and support staff nationwide. This is not only a problem for public schools, but also for students and families, who may feel the effects of an understaffed education system. Teachers who were already understaffed will be subject to new pressures due to the shortage. already highly demoralizedPandemics can put you in danger
Escalating right-wing attacksTeachers may also be a factor in explaining the shortage. doxes teachersAnd sends them death threats over actions like teaching the country’s history of racism or refusing to discriminate against LGBTQ children.
Conservative lawmakers are also largely behind threats to public school teachers’ pay. As EPI analysts wrote in 2019, shrinking teacher wages are “the result of revenue declines states brought on themselves by cutting tax rates.” For instance, a 2016 report cited by the authors found that half of states were providing less funding for grade schools in 2016 than they were before the recession, adjusted for inflation.
Low wages have prompted teachers to strike across the country in recent years; 2018 and 2019 A huge wave of people arrived. in teachers’ strikes, including a strike in Oklahoma in which roughly 30,000 teachers striked for over a week, closing nearly half of the state’s school districts. Teachers in multiple states have continuedThese strikes saw thousands of teachers walk off the job this year in protest at severe shortages, low salaries, and burnout.
EPI writes that the only way to remedy teacher pay deficits is to take “targeted and significant policy action — not just on teacher pay but on school funding more generally,” and emphasize that the pay gap plays a large role in discouraging teachers from keeping their jobs and college graduates from becoming teachers.
“This report again sounds the alarm on the long erosion in relative teacher wages and the widening gap in total compensation,” the author wrote, “which makes the prospects for attracting and retaining the teachers needed to alleviate shortages difficult at best.”