Compared with workers in occupations that have similar education and skill requirements, public school teachers face a large and growing pay gap, according to a new analysis from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).
Over the last decade, the report shows, the teacher pay gap increased from 10.8 percent to 15.1 percent. That translates into weekly earnings that are about $154 lower than comparable workers’. (The report compares teachers to accountants, reporters, registered nurses, computer programmers, clergy and personnel officers.)
AFT executive vice president Antonia Cortese notes that this is just the latest study to confirm the same discouraging trend. “Teachers continue to be vastly underpaid compared with similar workers,” she says in a prepared statement. “This makes recruitment and retention of the best and brightest increasingly difficult, even as the nation recognizes the growing need for high-quality teaching.”
For female teachers and for those with more seniority, the gap is especially striking. In 1960, women teachers were better paid than other similarly educated workers-by about 14.7 percent. By 2000, the situation had reversed to the point where female teachers faced a 13.2 percent annual wage deficit. The pay gap for teachers who are early in their careers has grown only slightly in the past 10 years, the EPI says. For senior female teachers (in the 45-54 age group), the deficit grew 18 percent during that same period.