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Back to April Ed Reporter

Education Reporter
Number 135 EDUCATION REPORTER April 1997

National Education Association
Laments Teachers' Salaries

WASHINGTON, DC - The National Education Association (NEA) has released its annual report on public school teachers' salaries within each state. The average U.S. teacher salary for 1995-96 was $37,685, up 3% from 1994-95.

On releasing the statistics, the NEA announced that public school teachers' salaries are "barely keeping up with inflation."

"The salary for teachers is troubling," lamented NEA President Bob Chase in a press release accompanying the report. "Teaching is an emotionally, physically, and intellectually challenging career that today garners too little respect and low pay relative to comparable professionals."

However, the NEA report omitted a critical factor - the number of workdays per year - that dispels Chase's assertion that teachers' pay is low "relative to comparable professionals."

Teachers work approximately 185 days per year, while other professionals work approximately 235 days per year (365 days per year less weekends, 3 weeks vacation, and 11 holidays). A professional with an annual salary of $37,000 earns $157.45 per workday, whereas a teacher with the same salary collects $200 per workday. The "low pay" that Chase laments is actually greater per day of work than that of the majority of U.S. workers.

Although teachers may spend extra time at home grading papers or supervising extracurricular activities, other professionals also spend many uncompensated hours of personal time on their careers. Also, most teachers' union contracts typically cap teachers' weekly work hours between 37 and 39 hours.

If making more money is the goal, teachers should go to work for the NEA. NEA staff members in Washington, D.C. earned an average salary of $68,346 during 1994-95, with 126 of the 608 employees making over $100,000. The NEA has a $41.6 million payroll.

Public School Teachers' Average Salaries
1995-96 School Year
1. Connecticut $ 50,254
2. Alaska 49,620 *
3. New York 48,115
4. New Jersey 47,910
5. Pennsylvania 46,087
6. Michigan 44,796 *
7. Dist. of Columbia 43,700
8. California 43,114 *
9. Massachusetts 42,882
10. Rhode Island 42,160 *
11. Maryland 41,215
12. Illinois 40,919
13. Delaware 40,533
14. Oregon 39,575
15. Wisconsin 38,182
16. Washington 38,025
17. Ohio 37,835
18. Indiana 37,677
19. Minnesota 36,937 *
20. Vermont 36,295
21. Nevada 36,167
22. Hawaii 35,807
23. New Hampshire 35,792
24. Colorado 35,364
25. Kansas 35,134
26. Virginia 35,037
27. Georgia 34,087
28. Missouri 33,341
29. Florida 33,330
30. Tennessee 33,126
31. Kentucky 33,080
32. Maine 32,869
33. Arizona 32,484 *
34. Iowa 32,372
35. West Virginia 32,155
36. Texas 32,000
37. South Carolina 31,622
38. Wyoming 31,571
39. Nebraska 31,496
40. Alabama 31,313
41. Idaho 30,891
42. Utah 30,588
43. North Carolina 30,411
44. New Mexico 29,632
45. Montana 29,364
46. Arkansas 29,322
47. Oklahoma 28,404
48. Mississippi 27,692
49. North Dakota 26,969
50. Louisiana 26,800
51. South Dakota 26,346
United States Avg. 37,685
Source: National Education Association * Estimates

 
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