Salary Gap Continues to Widen

Techniques, March 2000 | Go to article overview

Salary Gap Continues to Widen


School districts across the country have boosted recruitment efforts to attract new teachers to the field. But low salaries continue to plague the profession, despite signing bonuses, mentor programs and even paid housing for new recruits.

A new study by Education Week confirms that teachers earn less than their professional counterparts outside of education--and the salary gap widens significantly as teachers age and earn higher wages. The annual state-by-state survey also finds that teachers' salaries have increased by 17 percent since 1994, while nonteaching salaries have increased by almost double that--32 percent.

On average, says the study, teachers ages 22 to 28 with at least a bachelor's degree earn about $7,900 less than their counterparts in other fields. But teachers ages 44 to 50 with a master's degree or higher earned a whopping $32,500 less than nonteachers with the same education levels.

Until such salary gaps are rectified, schools may continue having trouble attracting the best and brightest to the shrinking field.

Bob Chase, president of the National Education Association, told the New York Times, "For all of the discussions about schools adopting efficient business practices as a means of reform, why should people believe the laws of supply and demand end at the schoolhouse door? …

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