The Economic Policy Institute recently published the findings of a study showing that in 2015, teachers’ weekly wages were 17% lower than comparable workers. The statistic is growing at an alarming rate – in 1994, wages were only 1.8% lower than those of comparable workers. Even teacher compensation (which includes both wages and benefits) was 11.1% lower than that of comparable workers.
EPI explains that several factors, including shrinking class sizes, desire to improve diversity, and need to meet high standards, have increased demand for teachers. However, they say that supply is faltering for various reasons, like early- to mid-career teachers leaving for non-retirement reasons and increased stress from the use of standardized testing for evaluations. EPI also found that collective bargaining can abate the wage gap: the gap was 6% smaller for unionized teachers.
At Elevate Teachers, we’re very concerned about the growing wage gap. If we don’t do something about it soon, we’re going to end up with an even more serious teacher shortage than the one we’re facing now.