U.S. census data shows that annual pay for teachers has fallen drastically over the past 60 years when compared to the annual pay of other workers with college degrees. According to a recent study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the average national starting salary for a teacher is around $30,377. But the study showed that other college graduates entering professions that require similar training and responsibilities start at much higher salaries. For example, public accountants start at $44,668; computer programmers start at an average of $43,635; and registered nurses start at about $45,570. The average earnings of workers with at least four years of college are now more than 50% higher than the average earnings of a teacher. And in addition to starting salaries being lower, inflation has grown faster than the increases in teachers’ salaries each year. Over the past year, inflation increased 3.1%, while teachers’ salaries increased by only 2.3%.
Because teachers do not work a 9 to 5 job and do not work the familiar full-year schedule that most professionals have, many people think that teachers are well-paid when compared to other professions. But that myth couldn’t be farther from the truth. Teachers work just as long or longer than the typical 40-hour work week of other professions. Six or seven hours is their contracted workday, but unlike other jobs, teachers are expected to work at home, at night, and on weekends. For teachers, the workday isn’t over when the last bell of the day sounds. Teachers spend an average of 50 hours a week on instructional duties, including an average of 12 hours each week on non-compensated school-related activities such as grading papers, advising students and clubs, and bus duty. The Center for Teaching Quality studied teachers in Clark County, NV, and it found that most teachers worked significant numbers of additional hours outside of the school day. The official report stated, "Very little of this time is spent working directly with students in activities such as tutoring or coaching; far more time is reported on preparation, grading papers, parent conferences, and attending meetings."
The rewards of being a teacher are often used to explain why teachers’ salaries are not as high as other professionals. But those lower salaries come at a high cost to society. Nearly 50% of all new teachers leave the profession within five years, and 37% of teachers who are planning to stop teaching before retirement blame low pay for their decision. Although most educators enter the teaching profession because they want to work with children, schools must realize that to attract and retain the most dedicated, committed professional teachers, they must provide salaries that are attractive and comparable to those of other professionals. The future of America depends upon it.(Just wish the author had put in links; I'll try to find at least some of them. Primary sources, folks...)