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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Teacher Salary Lags Behind Inflation

NEA president warns low teacher pay shortchanges students
WASHINGTON Despite the value of education to Americans, the National Education Association published figures today showing that investments in America’s public schools remain stagnant, as the average increase in teacher salary continues to trail behind the rate of inflation for 200506. No state has achieved adequate and equitable funding despite years of court cases and education reform proposals.

According to NEA’s publication, Rankings and Estimates: Rankings of the States 2006 and Estimates of School Statistics 2007, the average one-year increase in public schoolteacher salaries was 2.9 percent, while inflation escalated 3.9 percent. Over the past 10 years, the average salary for public schoolteachers increased only 1.3 percent after adjusting for inflation. Because of inflation and other economic factors, teachers have not been able to keep pace with basic household expenses.

“Low teacher pay comes at a very high cost,” said NEA President Reg Weaver. “How can we expect educators to be focused, committed and at their best on a daily basis when they are fearful of the consequences of not earning enough to support their families? Each year we lose excellent teachers because they can’t afford to make ends meet. Low teacher pay shortchanges the teaching profession, and students end up paying the price.”

Weaver continued: “The values we place on education must match the investments if we’re going to attract highly qualified teachers or close student achievement gaps and reduce the high school dropout rate.”

According to the report, the national average public schoolteacher salary for 200506 was $49,026. State average public schoolteacher salaries ranged from those in California ($59,825), Connecticut ($59,304) and the District of Columbia ($59,000) at the high end to South Dakota ($34,709), North Dakota ($37,764) and West Virginia ($38,284) at the low end.

Rankings & Estimates provides statistics to raise public understanding of key issues affecting teaching and learning conditions in the nation’s public schools. Other public education indicators, including school population and student-teacher ratio, can be found in the state-by-state report. Among the other highlights:
Public school enrollment Public school enrollment was 48,727,536, up 0.7 percent over fall 2004. The largest percentage of school enrollment increases from fall 2004 to fall 2005 were in Nevada (3.1%), Georgia (2.9%), Texas (2.8%) and Arizona (2.4%). Eighteen states and the District of Columbia experienced declines in student enrollment in fall 2005. The greatest declines were in Louisiana (-9.6%), North Dakota (-2.2%),
Utah (-1.9%) and the District of Colombia (-1.3%).
Expenditures per student Average per student expenditure for public elementary and secondary schools was $9,100 based on 200506 fall enrollment. States with the highest per student expenditures were New Jersey ($13,781), New York ($13,551), Massachusetts ($12,596), Vermont ($12,475) and Connecticut ($12,436). Among the states with the lowest per student expenditures were Utah ($5,347), Arizona ($5,585), Nevada ($6,755), Oklahoma ($6,944) and Tennessee ($6,979). These figures, in the context of adequacy and equity in school funding studies, are about 25 percent short in meeting student needs.
Gender diversity in teaching Males comprised 24.4 percent of public schoolteachers in 2006. Many of them taught in Kansas (33.3%), Oregon (31.4%), Alaska (30.9%) or Indiana (30.5%). States with the lowest percentage of male faculty were Arkansas (17.5%), Mississippi (17.7%), Louisiana (17.8%), South Carolina (17.9%), Virginia (18.8%) and Georgia (19.3%).

Rankings and Estimates has presented selected education statistics since the 1960s.
The complete report can be found at

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