Latest data show widening gap between public school teachers and other professionals
At a time of national debate over ways to improve the performance of America’s schools, a new report reveals a trend that undermines chances of reaching that goal: a large and growing pay penalty for those who choose to become public school teachers. Over the last decade, the teacher pay gap between public school teachers and other professionals increased 10.8 percentage points-from a 4.3 percent shortfall for teachers in 1996 to 15.1 percent in 2006.
“The Teaching Penalty: Teacher Pay Losing Ground,” published by the Economic Policy Institute, provides a detailed analysis of trends in teacher pay. In 1960 women teachers had an annual wage advantage of 14.7 percent compared to other similarly educated women. This annual pay difference was reversed to a 13.2 percent annual wage deficit by 2000.
The study’s authors are Sylvia A. Allegretto, an economist at the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at the University of California, Berkeley; Sean P. Corcoran, assistant professor of education economics at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University; and Lawrence Mishel, president of the Economic Policy Institute and director of EPI’s education research program.
The study compares teachers’ weekly pay to that of a core group of occupations with similar educational and skills requirements: accountants, reporters, registered nurses, computer programmers, clergy, and personnel officers. The teacher pay penalty
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