Nationally, teachers are being paid 20% less than other professions and the teacher pay gap has actually grown over the last twenty-five years, despite a teacher shortage in many areas of the country. Obviously, where the teacher pay gap is greatest like Arizona and Colorado, teacher shortages were most severe.
It was understandable during the great recession of 2008-12 that teacher salaries were essentially frozen and layoffs were in force. However, as the recession morphed into economic prosperity and low unemployment,teacher salaries failed to recover. Moreover, class sizes were increased during the recession but politicians failed to allocate funds to reduce class sizes. Why? The answer is simple State legislatures used the extra funding that went into State coffers to give residents an across the board tax cuts, rather than fully fund the schools. Unfortunately, politicians are more interested, like Governor Andrew Cuomo (without the tax cuts like other States), in seeking out "bad teachers" rather than fully fund school districts.
The result of the short sighted actions by the State Legislatures and the Governors are that schools are underfunded, lacked adequate resources, like books and other necessary materials, and oversized classes. No wonder only 5% of college students want to go into education, down from 21% in 2014. An updated map shows which State has anticipated teacher shortages for the 2018-19 school year due to their lack of attractiveness to teach in those States.
The teacher wage gap started in 1994 and has increased ever since. For all public-sector teachers, the relative wage gap (regression-adjusted for education, experience, and other factors known to affect earnings) has grown substantially since the mid-1990s. The teacher wage penalty was 1.8 percent in 1994, grew to 4.3 percent in 1996, and reached a record 18.7 percent in 2017.
Wage penalties have grown significantly for both male and female teachers
- The wage premium that female teachers had in the 1960s and 1970s has long been erased, replaced by a growing wage penalty. Our previous research found that female teachers earned 14.7 percent more in weekly wages than comparable female workers in 1960. This report finds that the teacher weekly wage premium for female teachers had fallen to 4.2 percent in 1979. And the wage premium for female teachers largely disappeared in the 1980s and 1990s, replaced by a large and growing wage penalty in the 2000s and 2010s. In 2017, female public school teachers were making 15.6 percent less in wages than comparable female workers.
- The wage penalty for male teachers is much larger. The weekly wage penalty for male teachers was 22.1 percent in 1979 and improved to 15.1 percent in 1994, but worsened in the late 1990s into the early 2000s. In 2017, male public school teachers were making 26.8 percent less in wages than comparable male workers.