Rise in Average Teacher Salary Continues To Outpace Inflation

March 29, 1989 1 min read

The rise in the average teacher salary for the current school year slightly outpaced inflation, according to figures released last week by the National Education Association.

The average salary for public-school teachers in the United States is $29,567, which represents an increase of 5.6 percent over the 1987-88 figure, the analysis found. Inflation for the same period hovered around 4.5 percent.

The union’s analysis is based on responses from education departments in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Average teacher salaries for 1988-89 ranged from a high of $41,693 in Alaska to a low of $20,480 in South Dakota, the survey found.

According to the union, the average teacher has a master’s degree and has been in the classroom for 15 years.

Although teachers’ salaries appear to have increased dramatically over the past decade, union officials said last week, the real increase has been “quite modest” when inflation is taken into account.

In the past 10 years, the average salary has grown by $1,844--or 12.3 percent--when pay is adjusted for inflation, union officials said.

“Teacher salaries have not increased significantly,” said Mary Hatwood Futrell, president of the nea, in a statement released last week. “If we are to remain competitive in the domestic and international markets, we must ensure that our teachers are the very best available--and compensate them with professional-level salaries.”

Ms. Futrell also called for raising the entry-level salary for all teachers to $25,000. The nea estimates that the average salary for a beginning teacher is $18,500.

The new data will be published later this spring in the nea’s Estimates of School Statistics.


A version of this article appeared in the March 29, 1989 edition of Education Week as Rise in Average Teacher Salary Continues To Outpace Inflation