Carnegie Report Examines the 'Unhealthy Condition of Teaching'

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Washington--A smaller portion of public-education funding was used for teacher salaries in 1982-83 than in 1972-73, and the purchasing power of teacher salaries declined sharply during the intervening decade, according to a report released last week by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Using previously published figures from the National Education Association, the foundation calculated that teacher salaries amounted to 41 percent of the $106 billion spent in the general operation of public elementary and secondary schools during the 1982-83 school year, compared to 49 percent of the $43.7 billion spent 10 years earlier.

The report also found that when inflation is taken into account, teacher salaries declined by 12.2 percent between 1972-73 and 1982-83, while total personal income in the country increased by 17.8 percent during the same period. The amount of money spent per pupil in the public schools rose by an inflation-adjusted 22.5 percent in that 10-year span, according to the report.

The 119-page study also draws together other statistics, covering a range of subjects involving teachers and the schools, from documents published previously by the National Education Association, the U.S. Census Bureau, and other federal agencies.

The purpose of the report, titled "The Condition of Teaching: A State by State Analysis," is to draw attention to the unhealthy condition of the teaching profession, according to Ernest L. Boyer, president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, " because teachers are going to be the key to reforming the schools."

'Teaching Profession is in Crisis'

Considered collectively, Mr. Boyer writes in a foreword to the report, the statistics "make clear that the teaching profession is in crisis."

"Poor students are going into teaching, teacher pay has actually declined in relation to other professionals and public employees, credentialing is a mess, and teachers do not receive adequate recognition and reward," he writes.

Data on population and enrollment trends, teacher-certification requirements, and the academic characteristics of education majors, as well as the comparative salary figures, are included in the report, which was compiled under contract by C. Emily Feistritzer, publisher of two newsletters on education.

The information reveals some dramatically varied circumstances among the states. For example:

In Alabama, 60.5 percent of public-education funds last year went to pay teachers, compared to 29 percent in Michigan.

Enrollment in public elementary and secondary schools increased 20.7 percent in Utah between 1972-73 and 1982-83, while enrollment dropped 37.4 percent in the District of Columbia, 31 percent in Delaware, and 25 percent in Connecticut during the same period.

Between 1972-73 and 1982-83, the purchasing power of a teacher's salary dropped 21.5 percent in Massachusetts, 27.1 percent in New Hampshire, and 19.8 percent in New Jersey, but it increased 2.9 percent in New Mexico.

The report is intended to supplement a two-year study of American high schools to be released by the foundation next month, Mr. Boyer said.

Vol. 02, Issue 42

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