Teacher Salaries Vary Widely, Survey Shows
By Tiffany Danitz, Staff Writer
Teachers in New Jersey, Connecticut and New York are the best paid in the nation, according to a survey by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), a national teachers union.
New Jersey teachers earn the top average salary, $51,692. Connecticut averaged a close second at $50,277 and New York third at $49,686, the survey showed. South Dakota teachers earned the lowest average salary -- $28,386.
The national average teacher pay is $40,574, a three percent raise since last year, the AFT said, but adjusted for inflation, it still falls below the national average in 1972. The survey has been taken for the last 50 years and was released July 4 at the AFT's national convention in Philadelphia, Penn.
The teachers' union has been working with the standards-based reform movement to try to raise the quality of teaching, and has been warning lawmakers of an impending teacher shortage.
"Some good ideas are being proposed to attract and retain high-quality teachers, including the common-sense notion of paying teachers competitive salaries. Some districts are working to establish performance pay--with the involvement and support of teachers through programs that identify master teachers or lead teachers and pay them significant salary differentials to work with other colleagues in a variety of ways, " AFT President Sandra Feldman wrote in the introduction to the survey.
California and North Carolina pay teachers extra if they become nationally board certified and cities such as Baltimore, Md. are giving teachers a $5,000 housing allowance. Other states are paying teachers college loans if they agree to teach in state.
New Jersey, Connecticut, New York, Michigan and Pennsylvania are the five states with the highest average teacher pay. Louisiana, Montana, Oklahoma, Mississippi, North Dakota and South Dakota pay the least.
To read the survey, click on Teacher Pay.