Vital Statistics

January 17, 2006 2 min read
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You may have heard that education is becoming more and more about the numbers. With that in mind, we take a look at some of the teaching profession’s vital statistics. (Data cited are the most recent available to us; sources are below.)

1) Estimated number of U.S. elementary and secondary school teachers: 3.5 million

2) Percent increase in the number of teachers from 1990-2004: 27

3) Average teacher salary (2004): $46,597

4) State (excluding District of Columbia) with the highest average teacher salary (2004): Connecticut ($56,516)

5) State with the lowest average teacher salary (2004): South Dakota ($33,236)

6) Percentage of teachers who see teaching as a lifelong career: 74

7) Percentage of teachers who leave the profession within five years: 46

8) Number of states that finance mentoring for new teachers: 15

9) Number of teachers with National Board certification: 47,356

10) Number of states that provide financial incentives for teachers to become Board certified: 37

11) Average per-pupil state expenditures (2003): $8,041

12) Percent increase in average state per-pupil state expenditures from 1994-2003: 21

13) Percentage of California public school teachers expected to retire in the next decade: 32

14) Odds that a 6th grader in the lowest-achieving quartile of California public schools has had more than one teacher without certification: 3 in 10

15) Odds that a 6th grader in the highest-achieving quartile of California public schools has had more than one teacher without certification: 1 in 50

16) Number of states that finance incentives for teachers in high-poverty or low-performing schools: 14

17) Average number of hours each week that public school teachers spend on non-compensated school-related activities: 12

18) Average amount public school teachers spend out-of-pocket each year for student needs: $443

19) Percentage of public school teachers who are male: 21

20) Approximate percentage of public school teachers who are African American males: 2.4

21) Approximate percentage of schools in the United States with no teachers of color: 40

22) Number of teachers who entered the profession in 2004-05 through alternative-certification routes: 35,000

23) Number of teachers hired last year through Texas’ Temporary Teacher Certification program, which allows districts to instantly certify qualifying college graduates: 1

24) Number of states that finance professional development for teachers: 39

25) Percentage of teachers who say that recent professional development made little difference in their performance: 50

26) Number of states (including the District of Columbia) that use multiple choice questions in tests to measure student achievement: 50

27) Number of states that use portfolios as a measure of student performance: 1

28) Percentage of teachers who say that standardized tests are a seriously flawed measure of true student achievement: 53


1) National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics 2004; 2) Ibid; 3) Education Week, Quality Counts 2006; 4) Ibid.; 5) Ibid.; 6) Public Agenda, Stand By Me, 2003; 7) National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, No Dream Denied: A Pledge to America’s Children, 2003; 8) Education Week, Quality Counts 2006; 9) Ibid.; 10) Ibid.; 11) Ibid.; 12) Ibid.; 13) Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning, Status of the Teaching Profession, 2005; 14) Ibid.; 15) Ibid.; 16) Editorial Projects in Education Research Center; 17) National Education Association, Status of the American Public School Teacher 2003; 18) Ibid; 19) Ibid; 20) National Education Association, Status of the American Public School Teacher 2000-2001. 21) NCES, 2003, cited in the National Collaborative on Diversity in the Teaching Force’s Assessment of Diversity in America’s Teaching Force, 2004; 22) National Center for Education Information, Profile of Alternate-Route Teachers, 2005; 23) Texas Education Agency; 24)Education Week, Quality Counts 2006; 25) Public Agenda, Stand By Me, 2003; 26) Education Week, Quality Counts 2006; 27) Ibid; 28) Public Agenda, Stand By Me.


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