If it’s Friday, it must be time to look once again at teacher salaries. Teaching is a particularly tough job that requires a good deal of talent. In order to attract enough great teachers, pay rates should be somewhere above the average pay for college graduates. How much higher is hard to say, but certainly higher.
I’ve made a new comparison of teacher income to income in other professions. Using the most recent Current Population Survey, I extracted a sample of college graduates working full-time in each state. Then I found the median wage and salary income for separately for teachers and non-teachers. This map shows teacher earnings relative to non-teachers, where “100” means teachers have the same wage and salary income as non-teachers.
With the exception of Montana, teachers earn less than other college grads–often much less. Now it’s true that teaching comes with some extra benefits. Fringe benefits are certainly higher than in most other jobs and the joy of making a difference for kids is what keeps in school many of the great teachers we do have. But we aren’t attracting enough of the best and brightest. Every state on my map ought to be whatever color is brighter than yellow.