I recently overhead a conversation about how school teachers don't make enough money. I've heard countless conversations making a similar claim. What I've never heard is someone stating just how much a teacher should make. I'm curious, what salary do you think is enough?
Maybe this will help. Teachers in the US have to have a college bachelor's degree as a requirement for licensure. 36 states and DC also require their teachers to have a master's degree. The average teacher's salary K-12 falls somewhere between $54,000-$58,000. Salaries such as this equate more to plumbers, pipefitters, police officers, technicians, electrical and electronics drafters. Professions that do not require a college degree, but instead require training, and certainly do not require a master's degree.
The average salary nationwide for professions with bachelor's degrees is $61,000. The average salary nationwide for professions with master's degrees is $78,000.
So you can see that teachers are highly educated but making under other professions with the same education. There is no opportunity for advancement. The only way to make more money in education is to trade the classroom for an administrative position, which many do.
So why the disparity? Discrimination based on gender. If this were a male dominated profession, there would be higher salaries. The average US teacher is...
Works 53 hours per week
Contrast this with high school football coaches. Most also teach with adjusted class schedules (meaning they teach fewer classes) to account for coaching responsibilities. In addition to a teacher's salary, coaches earn anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000 extra for being the head football coach. Assistants earn less, but still extra. Except in Texas, where high school football coaches are full-time positions and carry an average yearly salary of $98,000.
They are educating our next gens which is a vital an important role in society. I think they should make at least a middle income salary. Depending on where they live, how long they've been teaching and what teaching responsibilities they have $45-130k a year.
The conversation I have heard many times here in Michigan is that teachers "...make too much money...", and have "...all Summer off." Those who make such statements are pretty much ignorant of the reality of the situation. In my school district in Michigan, a starting teacher had to have a bachelor's degree with teacher certification. Then they had to go on (in the Summer and/or nights), and get an additional minimum of 18 semester hours or attain their master's degree. The first 9 hours was not reimbursed by the district...it comes out of the teacher's pocket. When it comes to, "all Summer off", typically the starting date for teachers in our district was August 14-15 for "teacher's work days" through June 10 or so (snow days added), for the school year...about two months off...if they are not in grad school. When It comes to pay grades, consideration should be given to, amount of education, some get more than a master's... meaning continuing on in grad school to get an education specialist's degree or a doctorate, or other grad school classes. Also in our district, there were pay steps relative to how many years they had been teaching in the district. Therefore, what would be a fair wage for a person who typically has a master's degree or more, and has been a teacher for an average of more than ten years? More than a bar tender? I found it interesting that the lower a person's education level the more likely they were to consider teacher's to be overpaid.
The answer to the OP's question is very simple economics 101... whatever the market will bear. If you produce a product of low value, than compensation will reflect accordingly.
The deeper question that should be addressed is, why do our societies and cultures find so little value in education? The multitude of answers to that question could fill many threads. For an example of the economics of this situation look no further than an educational institution's athletics program. They rarely run into funding issues, and in fact usually help keep other departments afloat with their excesses. Once again that is market forces at work showing where our values lie. In my opinion, until our values change on this issue I expect that teachers will always be "underpaid".
As a teacher, I can tell you that my salary versus how much time and effort I put in at home/on weekends in addition school hours during the week, works out around $13 per hour. However, I often buy supplies for low-income students, materials for lessons, and other assorted necessities myself. By leaving the US teach overseas, I am compensated more fairly but having a mass exodus of well-trained and qualified teachers foreign schools isn't a good solution for anyone.
In the district I served, teachers had an increasing pay scale that benefited them with years of service and degrees obtained. Those who have earned a Masters degree and have some years of service do quite well.
The problem is the new hire rate can be in the low $30k range, so new teachers coming out of college with loan debt have a very difficult time in most markets. The Denver metro area where I live has become quite pricey for housing, so there's a big struggle for young teachers. What makes matters quite worse is that the bargaining agreements typically include a "probationary period" of three teaching years, and the district may choose to "non re-new" teachers during that period without having to make a case. And I have been witness to discussions at the district leadership level - as a board member - where there is a strategic aim to non re-new x number of teachers each year, to keep their tenure numbers down, and lower the aggregate labor cost. The district knows they will have an abundant list of applicants and transfers to back fill the non re-newed positions. This district does not have the economic challenges that many inner city districts do, so I found this behavior to be appalling.
Many of my daughters' friends went into teaching at the K-12 level, and the salary numbers I have cited come from them. I'd like to see the entry level for new teachers to be in the $45k range, with the same escalations for service years and educational attainment.
I started teaching in 2002, and after a previous 4 year degree in my subject area, and nearly two years on top of that for teacher ed, I earned less than I was making as a grocery store assistant manager in 1999. Even worse, as a teacher we got paid each month, so I had no income at all until the end of September. I had to get a $2000 loan from my parents to cover me for the month, and paid it back $200 a month for that year...which put me BELOW what I was making at the grocery store. (And on top of all of that, our contract is for 9 months work, but our PAY is split into 12 equal monthly payments...so that after one month's work--putting in 1/9th of my year's work--, I got paid 1/12 of my salary. People still think we get paid for doing nothing during the summer, when in fact we are simply getting the rest of our pay for work we already did. This isn't such a big deal after 15 years...but for first year people, it's a kick in the gut and a red flag that maybe you should have picked a different career.)
I now have nearly 7 years of college, 15 years experience, and am approaching what I should have been paid to start all those years ago.
One good thing is that I learned to live on a low income and saved everything else for fear of being trapped financially. My investment income last year eclipsed my salary by quite a lot (almost double), and now I'm feeling guilty for considering quiting teaching. I know there is no one to replace me. Last year they hired a guy who taught one year of 5th grade, with no high school certificate, and a journalism degree. They gave him honors classes his first year for some reason, and wanted the rest of us to help him get up to speed (as if it was that simple). I'd been teaching 13 years, with a professional certificate, a degree in my subject, a 3.9 post grad GPA, and a 4 year college honors program under my belt before they even suggested I teach honors.
I always knew I was overqualified and undervalued, but reality has kind of slapped me in the face last year and this year. (We also almost went on strike at the beginning of the year because the money the state set aside for our salaries suddenly was being funneled elsewhere. Fortunately we got our money...but not before the district told us to have our room keys ready to turn over because subs would be replacing us. I knew they were bluffing then! They don't have enough subs during the school year to cover sick days, much less cover every single teacher! Besides, the subs were on our side anyway.)
I read all the comments and have something to add. Not only do we have to consider what they do and how much education they need to do what they do we should also consider that most teachers, like anyone else who has attended college, have student loans. Does anyone think it is ridiculous that most people have to give up so much money in student loans? I think education should be based on aptitude and achievement. So many people go to college, study a subject as a major, and never get a job in their field so they decide to go for a teaching certificate. Many hate teaching but what else do you do with a history degree? So few go on to write books or curate museums or lead historical trips. So, there is allot to consider in our education system and not just salary.
It depends on where they live and the standard of living in their area. It also depends on their educational level and their time in service and their academic ratings. Unfortunately, education is falling short everywhere because the old system of funding did not take exponential population growth into consideration. My late partner was a master educator at the public elementary level. She got her masters and made a decent salary but it did not compare to other fields at her skill and education level. However, there were also perks (vacation, health care, retirement, job satisfaction) which also have a huge value.
They should make what lawyers make. To retain a teaching certificate one needs a Masters degree and possibly even a certain amount if continuing education credits each year. That's about the same as a law degree and the impact teachers make on society it's probably more than lawyers do though not nearly so high profile.
I assume you have a master's degree, and know what that takes in money and time...I do not, but shepherded my ex thru it...
There is an abysmal amount of ignorance surrounding the work that teachers actually do and how much time it takes, off line and at home.
It should be high enough to make it a very competitive field. Our best minds should be working to get into the teaching profession. The less you pay, the lower quality people you will get to teach our youth, and if you look at the comments on an article on say climate change on Facebook, you'll see what's happening in our country. I have no doubt that this country can go backward very quickly, if we don't have a decent system in place to educate our children.
Teaching is one of our most important professions, and it should be treated that way.
Minimum at least 1 billion dollars a day. To teach, to pass knowledge, understand and wisdom, priceless. The greatest ignorance is not appreciating those that are willing to share the knowledge they have so that others would known.
The greatest Evil of mankind is withholding knowledge, especiallyconsidrring mankind is the animal most capable of enjoying such knowledge. It really sad to see that a price must be put on education when it should be completely freely given. God damn Masonic lodge secret religion racist devil worship God damn keep people ignorant and have a world of secrets so that those having the secrets can capitalize and have capitalism slave wage labors. And people wonder why the world is so god dsmn fucked up.