"Teachers should never have to choose between doing what they love and supporting their families," the group's president, Reg Weaver, said Thursday. "We can't continue to ask them to fulfill such an important mission without providing the support they deserve." Read on. -Angela
By Ben Feller, AP Education Writer | June 24, 2005
WASHINGTON --Teachers earned an average of $46,752 last year, a slight raise that did not keep pace with inflation, a teachers' union says.
The average salary increased 2.1 percent in 2003-04, according to state figures compiled by the National Education Association, the country's largest teachers union.
The inflation rate was 3.3 percent in 2004. Since 2000, the raise for teachers has ranged from 2.1 percent to 3.8 percent.
"Teachers should never have to choose between doing what they love and supporting their families," the group's president, Reg Weaver, said Thursday. "We can't continue to ask them to fulfill such an important mission without providing the support they deserve."
Salaries are often seen as an important reason why schools struggle to hire and keep teachers, particularly in subject areas or locations that have frequent shortages of instructors.
State lawmakers, facing financial struggles, have focused on enticing teachers into the hardest-to-fill positions, said Scott Young, a senior policy specialist for the National Conference of State Legislatures.
"There's just not money available to jack up salaries across the board," Young said.
Teachers typically are paid based on their education and seniority. But many districts and states are discussing, or experimenting with, tying pay to performance.
The NEA estimates the average salary will increase 2.1 percent again this year.
Over the past 20 years, the typical teacher's salary has grown $24,150, but adjusted for inflation, it has increased only $2,677, or 11.3 percent, the NEA says.
Over the past decade, 15 states have seen a real decline in average teacher salaries when inflation is factored in, the organization says.
In the most recent year, 2003-04, salaries ranged significantly across the states, accounting for cost of living differences and variations in how salary packages are set up.
The top state, Connecticut, paid public school teachers an average yearly salary of $57,337. The District of Columbia was next at $57,009.
South Dakota paid the lowest average salary, $33,236, while Oklahoma was next-to-last at $35,061. The NEA got its figures by surveying state education agencies.
On The Net:
National Education Association: http://www.nea.org