New York Teachers Are Highest Paid in U.S., Report Finds

| Updated: April 2, 2019
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Staten Island, N.Y.

Teachers in New York State are paid the highest salaries in their field in the United States, according to a new report by the Rockefeller Institute of Government.

The average teacher salary in New York is about $79,588, according to the State University of New York (SUNY) think tank.

“Our new interactive data tool displays average teacher salaries compared to the average salaries of bachelor’s degree holders in each state over a 15-year period to examine where teacher salaries are gaining and where they’re falling behind,” said the Rockefeller Institute of Government on its website. “The tool presents a clear picture of the state of teacher salaries in the U.S. and how they’ve changed since 2002.”

The think tank created the interactive data tool because of recent teacher strikes across the country, and how teacher salaries are becoming a focal point of the 2020 presidential race.

Alaska teachers were in second place at $78,670, followed by Connecticut teachers at $77,717.

The lowest average teacher salaries in the United States were South Dakota teachers at $42,450, followed by Oklahoma teachers at $43,192.

Salaries for New York teachers increased more than $19,000 on average from 2002 to 2016, the institute found. The report showed that salaries for New York teachers have steadily increased during this 14-year time frame, and will likely continue to rise.

The average teacher salary is hard to pin down definitively. Different reports use different data sources.

For instance, the Rockefeller Institute’s report used data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau. The findings differ slightly from an annual report by the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers’ union, which asks state departments of education for salary information.

According to the NEA, New York teachers’ pay still tops the list at $84,227 in the 2017-18 school year. But the union says California teachers are in second place, and Mississippi teachers are at the bottom of the rankings—among other discrepancies between the findings.

And when you factor in cost-of-living, the rankings change, too. Last year, NPR partnered with the education nonprofit EdBuild to calculate what teachers in each state make before and after adjusting for regional cost differences. They found that while New York teachers are top of the list in average salary, they are in 17th place after taking into account cost-of-living.

There are also variations in regional cost differences within states, which the numbers can’t clearly capture, NPR notes. Also, in some states, the average pay might be skewed given the wide gap between veteran teacher pay and starting salaries.

New York City teacher salaries are increasing over the next three years under the new United Federation of Teachers contract. The most experienced teachers will see their base pay rise to $128,657. Starting salaries will be increased to $61,070 over the course of the new contract.


Related Video

Teachers tend to be white, female, and have nearly a decade and a half of classroom experience, according to the most recent statistics from the U.S. Department of Education. See what else the data reveal about the people who staff public K-12 classrooms.




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