No. of Recommendations: 4
on this much, i think you're absolutely right. teaching jobs should be compensated at a rate that business has to compete with education for the brightest minds available. and teachers should have to compete to land these highly compensated positions. if teaching paid wages equivalent to those in banking, medicine, law, technology, etc. you'd find american students matching up against the rest of the world right quick.

The Spinster School teacher working for low wages story is getting outdated for these 10 month with multi week holiday vaction schedules. Yes, I know teachers work at night doing lesson plans and grading, and sometimes go to school in the summer, but my wife is a nurse and must complete I forget how many course credits each year to keep her license.

But ... Read on

We have two different sources for average public school teacher salaries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (2004) puts the salary from $44,000 to $48,420 (depending on the grade level, kindergarten teachers getting paid less than secondary school teachers). PayScale (2005) puts the public school teacher salary in a slightly lower range: $35,460 for kindergarten teachers going up to $40,910 for secondary school teachers. Teaching positions can specialize in special education, vocational training, and athletic training.

A substantial body of evidence implies that teachers are not underpaid relative to other professionals. Using data on household median earnings from the U.S. Department of Labor, I compared teachers with seven other professional occupations: accountants, biological and life scientists, registered nurses, social workers, lawyers and judges, artists, and editors and reporters. Weekly pay for teachers in 2001 was about the same (within 10 percent) as for accountants, biological and life scientists, registered nurses, and editors and reporters, while teachers earned significantly more than social workers and artists. Only lawyers and judges earned significantly more than teachers—as one would expect, given that the educational training to become a lawyer is longer and more demanding.

Teachers, moreover, enjoy longer vacations and work far fewer days per year than most professional workers. Consider data from the National Compensation Survey of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which computes hourly earnings per worker. The average hourly wage for all workers in the category “professional specialty” was $27.49 in 2000. Meanwhile, elementary-school teachers earned $28.79 per hour; secondary-school teachers earned $29.14 per hour; and special-education teachers earned $29.97 per hour. The average earnings for all three categories of teachers exceeded the average for all professional workers. Indeed, the average hourly wage for teachers even topped that of the highest-paid major category of workers, those whose jobs are described as “executive, administrative, and managerial.” Teachers earned more per hour than architects, civil engineers, mechanical engineers, statisticians, biological and life scientists, atmospheric and space scientists, registered nurses, physical therapists, university-level foreign-language teachers, librarians, technical writers, musicians, artists, and editors and reporters. Note that a majority of these occupations requires as much or even more educational training as does K–12 teaching.

Typically, teachers' retirement and health insurance benefits are more generous than the average professional's, particularly those who work in the private sector. Federal data suggest that, on average, teachers receive a package of benefits valued at more than 26 percent of their salaries. By contrast, the average for “all domestic industries” is about 19 percent; for private industries it is even less, below 17 percent.


North Carolina Average $43,211
United States Average $46,752
North Carolina's Rank 23

In the Pennsylvania suburbs, the average public school teacher salary during 2003-04 was $61,772 ($56,071 in Philadelphia). In South Jersey, the average was $51,845.

Nationwide, the average public school teach salary in that time period was $46,726, according to the National Education Association.

In contrast, private school teachers earn much less - $41,747 on average in this region and $42,405 nationwide, according to the National Association of Independent Schools.
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