Teacher salaries down, inflation up.
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There’s an amusing response by right-wing libertarian teacher union critic Michael Antonucci to the NEAs annual report on teacher pay and school funding.
Mike’s a long-time denier that there is or will be a teacher shortage. So, in some ways his reaction is predictable.
These figures are from the latest edition of Rankings and Estimates, produced by the National Education Association:
Change in the number of public school teachers from the 2019-20 school year to the 2020-21 school year – 1,881 fewer, or 0.06%.
Change in the number of enrolled public school students from Fall 2019 to Fall 2020 – 1,160,135 fewer, or 2.65%.
Or to put it another way, we lost one teacher for every 617 students lost.
Does that sound like a staffing shortage?
He knows better, of course.
Mike wants us to think that there is some central national hiring hall for teachers.
Need a teacher in Chicago? Need one in Boise?
It’s all the same according to Antonucci.
The essential truth in the NEA’s report is this:
…the current educator staffing crisis and trajectory—when coupled with the pandemic, insufficient teacher salaries, and the chronic underfunding of our public schools—is unsustainable.
In the ten years since I retired from teaching salaries have actually declined.
The average national classroom teacher salary is $66,397 for the 2021-2022 school year
That’s $2,179 less per year, on average, than they earned a decade ago when I retired (when adjusted for inflation).
That’s a 3.9% decline over the past decade.
What is important to know is what Antonucci avoids mentioning.
In states where teachers are in unions, compensation has held steady.
NEA data shows that for the 2020-21 school year, starting salaries for teachers rose by an average of 1.6 percent in states with a collective bargaining law. And when it comes to ESPs, workers in states with collective bargaining statutes earn almost $6,000 more a year, on average, than those in states where collective bargaining is prohibited.
Of course, to really preserve a robust teaching profession, holding steady on compensation in the face of all the rest that teachers must now face is not really good enough.