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NEA News

Teacher Pay Gap Narrows, But for How Long?

The difference in compensation between educators and similarly educated professionals is shrinking, but will this trend continue?
Published: 01/2021

According to a new analysis by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), the teacher pay gap—the difference in compensation between educators and similarly educated professionals—shrank in 2019, a possible result of successful #RedForEd protests that swept across many parts of the country in 2018 – 2019.

Graph showing that teachers earn 19.2 percent less than comparable college graduates.

In 21 states and the District of Columbia teachers are paid less than 80 cents on the dollar earned by similar college-educated workers. The #RedforEd movement “led to some important changes,” says EPI researcher Sylvia Allegretto. “We’re going to need much more of this in the future and in the near future. The good news is that the public is now on our side.”

The erosion of educator pay over the years, coupled with the marginalization of the profession, has led to an alarming teacher shortage. Overall, fewer people are entering the profession and more are leaving.” 

—NEA President Becky Pringle


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The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.