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Teachers Take “Pay Cut” as Inflation Outpaces Salaries

Adjusting for inflation, average teachers’ salaries declined in fifteen states over the past decade


WASHINGTON — EMBARGOED UNTIL February 1, 2010 — Inflation over the past decade has outpaced teachers’ salaries in many states across the country, according to the National Education Association’s update to the annual report Rankings and Estimates: Rankings of the States 2009 and Estimates of School Statistics 2010. Adjusting for inflation, teacher pay increased only 3.4% on average, or $177 per year, during this period.

“Public schoolteachers across the nation are continuing to lose spending power for themselves and their families in an already struggling economy,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “We need to compensate teachers fairly for the work they do."

“How can we recruit and retain quality teachers for our students if we don’t pay them what they’re worth?” said Van Roekel. “Professional work deserves professional pay.” 

Rankings and Estimates provides statistics to raise public understanding of key issues affecting teaching and learning conditions in the nation’s public schools. Highlights:

• The national average public schoolteacher salary for 2008–2009 was $54,319.

• Public school enrollment was 48,960,698, up 0.1 percent over fall 2007.

• There were 3,229,545 teachers in 2008-09. The average number of students per teacher declined from 15.3 in 2007-08 to 15.2 in 2008-09.

• Males comprised 24 percent of public schoolteachers in 2009.

• The U.S. average per student expenditure for public elementary and secondary schools in 2008–09 fall enrollment was $10, 190.

Rankings and Estimates has presented selected education statistics since the 1960s. The complete report can be found here.


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