The wage gap between teachers and comparable professionals has grown over time, with teachers now earning 18.7 percent less than other college-educated workers, according to a new analysis.
The paper published by the Economic Policy Institute found that the “teacher-wage penalty” has increased significantly—teachers earned just 1.8 percent less than comparable workers in 1994. And although teachers do receive better benefits packages than their peers who were also college-educated, those benefits only mitigate part of the gap: Including benefits, teachers face an 11 percent compensation penalty.
Low pay was a major factor driving the widescale teacher strikes and protests in Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and West Virginia last spring. Four of those states had the largest wage penalties in the country: Arizona had a 36.4 percent wage gap, North Carolina’s gap stood at 35.5 percent, Oklahoma’s at 35.4 percent, and Colorado’s at 35.1 percent.
Overall, teachers’ weekly wages lag by more than 25 percent compared with similarly educated professionals in 16 states. There are no states where teacher pay is equal to or better than that of other college graduates.
A version of this article appeared in the September 12, 2018 edition of Education Week as Teachers Paid Significantly Less Than Comparable Professionals, Study Finds