- A recent study by the nonprofit Education Resource Strategies (ERS) organization reveals that in more than half of the states, teachers are not making a living wage according to the MIT living wage metric; however, that report is expected to be updated in the next few days to refine and clarify the use of the data, Education Week reports.
- The ERS report found that, even though states have seen a rise in per-pupil funding since 1970, real teacher salaries have not kept pace and have declined in most states when adjusted for inflation, a factor that is impacting teacher recruitment and retention in some areas.
- While increasing education funding is an obvious solution, Karen Hawley Miles, the president and executive director of ERS, suggests that states may also need to look at alternative ways to structure this funding so that more money goes to teachers in early years when housing, student loans, and family needs are greatest rather than in later years as part of retirement payouts.
Teacher pay remains a hot topic as teachers in several states have waged protests during the past year. This most recent study adds more data concerning how teacher salaries are affected by other economic factors that relate to the living wage of each state and illustrates again how teachers in many areas are losing economic ground even as educational spending as a whole may be increasing.
As the public watches the protests and surveys unfold, the New York Times reports a growing sense of public support for increasing teacher wages. However, an article produced by Money magazine in 2017 reveals that public support for increasing teacher salaries tends to drop when respondents learn how much teachers actually make.
Though an increase in educational funding at the state and federal levels may help the situation, the truth is that these increases do not always benefit teachers. Some school districts remain top-heavy, with a larger percentage of funding going to support a growing number of educational executives in the central office at the expense of teacher salaries. In other cases, the ERS study suggests that school districts may need to cut some support positions to boost teacher salaries. While school districts continue to advocate for much-needed funding, the challenge is to also need keep the needs of teachers in mind when they slice the fiscal pie.