Teachers who work at high-poverty schools and with mostly students of color are paid less than their peers at affluent schools with mostly white students—but the disparity is worse than people think, argues a new paper from Bellwether Education Partners, a Washington-based consulting firm, because retirement contributions are often left out of analyses of what it costs to employ a teacher.
Researchers looked at 10 years of data on the salaries and pensions of Illinois educators and then compared those to student demographics. “After accounting for teacher pensions, the disparity in school-level-personnel expenditures between high- and low-poverty schools increases dramatically,” found the report. That pattern was also true when looking at race: Schools with the highest percentages of black and Hispanic students put less money toward teacher retirement. When pensions were added to an analysis of Illinois school funding, the gaps between high- and low-poverty schools increased by more than 200 percent.
A version of this article appeared in the August 30, 2017 edition of Education Week as Teacher Pay