Teacher Pay Penalty Reaches Record High. What’s at Stake?

The disparity between what teachers are paid and what their peers in other, comparable professions earn has reached an all-time high, according to findings published this month by the nonprofit Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

For decades—indeed, almost every year since the EPI first began robux for free without verification documenting the teacher pay penalty in 1996—the pay of teachers has slipped further behind that of their non-teacher counterparts, adjusted for education, experience and demographics.

In 2020 and 2021, the two years whose data has been newly considered in this most recent EPI report, that gap reached new heights, with teachers earning 23.5 percent less than their professional peers. (The two data sources for this analysis come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.)

What that means is that teachers in the United States earn, on average, about 76.5 cents on the dollar compared to similar professionals who have bachelor’s degrees.

The financial penalty for teaching is significantly steeper for men, at 35.2 percent, than for women, at 17.1 percent. This is likely part of the reason that the gender makeup of the field has changed little in recent decades.

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