In a new brief, States, strikes, and teacher salaries, the National Council on Teacher Quality provides some additional insight into what's motivating teacher strikes across the country. Clearly, teachers need to be paid more in some states and districts, but when it comes to thinking about how we improve teacher salaries moving forward, a more in-depth understanding of teacher pay issues is essential.
Key takeaways from the brief include:
In states that have minimum salary schedules for teachers, almost all districts add additional money. Oklahoma is an exception, where nearly two-thirds of districts add nothing to the minimum salary. How much districts add varies from less than $3,000 in West Virginia and North Carolina to tens of thousands of dollars in Ohio.
When it comes to how much money teachers can make across a career, salary increases early on make all the difference. Oklahoma and West Virginia have slow climbs early in teachers’ careers, with an increase of less than $10,000 in your first ten years of teaching.
Teacher salary and strike reporting that only includes average salaries for all teachers in the state doesn’t accurately reflect the reality for all teachers since salaries vary wildly across districts within the same state. For example, in Kentucky the difference in starting salaries between the lowest paying district and the highest paying district is over $10,000.