March 4, 2022

Why are teachers underpaid?

Teachers make about 20% less than other professionals, but wage hikes are coming to 15 states.

Year after year, studies show high-performing teachers deliver high-performing students. So why do teachers remain so underpaid?

The full answers are complicated and often local. But here’s 7 critical facts about teacher pay.

  • The national average teacher salary for the 2020-21 school year is $65,090—a 1.5% increase from the previous year.
  • The #RedforEd movement, which began in 2018, encouraged protests and strikes for higher wages and more funding.
  • 15 states, both red and blue, have either “proposed raising teacher pay or already done so, part of an effort to combat a national teacher shortage that’s been brewing for years.”
  • However, careers dominated by women pay “less on average than those with higher proportions of men” and “enjoy less prestige.” 
  • Teachers make about 20% less than other professionals with similar education and experience. In many parts of the country, teachers live below the family living wage.
  • Up to a quarter of teachers leave the profession every year and about 20% resort to second jobs.

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Recommended Readings:

How to survive financially as a teacher

Financial Planning for Teachers: 7 smart tips

Pranay Chirla
Technical Content Writer
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