Average teacher pay ticked up slightly in the last year, but it has failed to keep up with inflation over the past decade, according to a report by the nation’s largest teachers’ union.
The National Education Association estimates that the national average teacher salary for the 2022-23 school year is $68,469—a 2.6 percent increase from the previous year. But when adjusted for inflation, teachers are, on average, making $3,644 less than they did 10 years ago, the union estimated in its annual report that ranks and analyzes teacher salaries and education spending by state, released Monday.
“Chronic low pay,” the union said, “is plaguing the profession.”
“Educators who dedicate their lives to students shouldn’t be struggling to support their own families,” said NEA President Becky Pringle in a statement. “A career in education must not be a lifetime sentence of financial worry. Who will choose to teach under those circumstances?”
There has been a bipartisan effort among state lawmakers and governors to raise teacher pay this year, and Democrats in Congress have proposed raising all public school teachers’ base pay to $60,000. But the NEA report argues that there’s a long way to go: The national average starting teacher salary was $42,845 in the 2021-22 school year.
And sometimes even districts’ maximum pay falls far short of that mark: Nearly 17 percent of school districts pay a top salary below $60,000, according to the NEA’s analysis of salary data from 12,000 school districts.
See average salaries by state
The NEA primarily collected data from state departments of education to rank teacher salaries across the nation. The 2022-23 numbers are all estimates, and are typically revised slightly the following year.
Massachusetts, New York, and California top the list with the highest salaries this school year, while Mississippi, South Dakota, and Florida are at the bottom.
New Mexico had the biggest change in salary year over year—a 17.15 percent increase. Teachers there made an average of $54,272 in the 2021-22 school year and are projected to make an average of $63,580 this school year.
Teachers in the Land of Enchantment got a 7 percent average raise this year, and the state has also increased the minimum salaries in the state’s three-tier licensure system to $50,000, $60,000, and $70,000.