While teacher salaries continued to increase on average during the recent economic downturn, they did so at a much slower pace, according to a study from the National Council on Teacher Quality.
The study by the Washington-based research and advocacy group is based on salary schedules for 41 of the 50 largest public school districts in the United States. Researchers tracked changes from 2007-08, when the Great Recession began, to 2011-12, after the recession officially ended in June 2009.
Analysts looked at annual adjustments and step increases for accumulating a year of experience. (The analysis did not include increases for earning advanced degrees or accumulating credit hours for professional development.)
From the 2007-08 to 2008-09 school years, teachers’ one-year pay increase was an average 3.6 percent, according to the study. However, over the next three years, raises totaled between one-half and one-third that amount. The average pay raise hit a low point of 1.1 percent between 2009-10 and 2010-11.
Districts were most likely to cut or freeze annual adjustments as a means of reducing raises, the organization says in the report, with about three-quarters of districts doing so. Teachers in 80 percent of the districts experienced a cut or freeze in total pay at least once over the four-year period.
Even so, only two of the 41 districts had a net decrease in teacher pay over that stretch: Albuquerque, N.M., and Dekalb County, Ga.
A version of this article appeared in the May 15, 2013 edition of Education Week as Teacher Pay Hikes Found to Falter