Tamarine Cornelius
Wisconsin Budget

Teachers Earn Less Than Other College Grads

Even with benefits, they earn 11% less. And the gap is growing.

By , Wisconsin Budget Project - Aug 16th, 2016 10:22 am
Rufus King. Photo by Christopher Hillard.

Rufus King. Photo by Christopher Hillard.

Public school teachers earn significantly less than comparable workers – and the gap is growing wider, making it more difficult to attract new teachers to the profession.

Nationally, public school teachers earned 17.0% less per week worked than other workers in 2015, according to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute. That wage gap has tripled since 1979, when the wage gap was 5.6% between teachers and other workers. The analysis controls for age, education, race/ethnicity, geographical region, marital status, and gender.

Teachers Earn Less than Other College Graduates

Teachers Earn Less than Other College Graduates

In Wisconsin, the wage gap means that public school teachers earn $229 per week less than other workers with the same level of education. Teachers earn less than other college graduates in every state in the U.S.

Teachers not in a union face a larger wage penalty than teachers in a union, according to the report.

When benefits are included, teachers still earn less than other workers: 11.1% less per week worked.

When teachers earn less than workers in other fields, it becomes harder for schools to attract and retain high-quality teachers. Some Wisconsin school districts have reported struggling to hire teachers, and as the wage gap grows, schools will face an even more difficult time attracting candidates to fill vacant positions. If we want to make sure that schools are able to hire well-qualified teachers to teach Wisconsin students, we need to make sure we can offer potential teachers a job with competitive salaries and benefits and a good working environment.

Read the full report here: The Teacher Pay Gap is Wider than Ever, from the Economic Policy Institute.

29 thoughts on “Wisconsin Budget: Teachers Earn Less Than Other College Grads”

  1. Jason says:

    I will let my MPS teaching sister know that the $64 an hour places her near the working poor. What a misleading article.

  2. Jason says:

    retraction: Gave my sister a call $46….an hour

  3. Vincent Hanna says:

    How do you determine that wage Jason? Let’s see the math. And one person’s salary, whatever it is, doesn’t make this entire article misleading. But please feel free to be more specific with your complaints.

  4. Jason Novak says:

    First of all if you look in to their study a chart shows Wisconsin paying 12 percent more to Wisconsin teachers versus the national average. Second, what is most misleading is they use this term average of all workers with degrees, what does that mean. My wife and I work three jobs between us both have degrees and neither of make as much as a teacher at MPS with fifteen years in and can collect income during the summer.

  5. Vincent Hanna says:

    When I worked for MPS I was not paid during the summer and my teacher’s salary was less than $30,000 a year. I also worked all summer, so please spare me the teacher’s get a three month vacation nonsense. That you don’t make more than you do doesn’t mean teacher’s make a lot or are overpaid. If you think teachers have it so great, get a teaching job.

  6. Jason says:

    Vince, I will give you this teachers do need hazard pay. If you work at a school and you are attack by your student and no police presence is sent to detain the student and then you come in the next day and that student is sitting their in your class there is a problem.

  7. Vincent Hanna says:

    I taught at North Division, on 10th and Center, and was never attacked by a student. Not a single attack at the school in fact. You can go back to watching Dangerous Minds now. It’s just like real life!

  8. Jason says:

    Earth to Vince, MPS has been dumbing down their crime statistic to please Obama and Secretary Arne Duncan. Take a look at MPS crime numbers they have dropped over the last two years. Most of the students at MPS are of color and we cannot send them on a path to the criminal justice system so MPS simply choose not to report many assaults on students and teachers to the police.

  9. Vincent Hanna says:

    Where are you getting this intel on MPS not reporting assaults on teachers? Someone sends it to you in Hawaii?

  10. A Bus Driver says:

    To all readers of the comments section on this site. Jason is a simply a TROLL & probably a lying one at that. He may not even have a sister let alone one that’s a teacher. One thing that is evident is he is a racist troll that doesn’t use proper grammar. EXAMPLE: His post comment #6

  11. Jason says:

    Are we not all trolls here. Yes, I have prejudice like all trolls.

  12. Vincent Hanna says:

    No not everyone who posts comments online is a troll. Your tendency to post inflammatory comments and mostly avoid direct questions and reasonable discussion make you seem like one.

  13. David Nelson says:

    I agree with Vincent and Bus Driver. Jason made a racist remark which did nothing to advance this conversation, nor are his other statements well supported. And no, trolling is not merely appearing online and expressing opinions. It is usually signified by making unsupported, inflammatory remarks.

    Now everyone will get a bit ahead of themselves once in a while, but hopefully they will take responsibility for their remarks and do better next time. If they never take responsibility for speaking as a racist or representing untruth as truth, then they have a serious character issue.

    Changing screen names is not the same thing as taking responsibility for ones actions.

  14. Bill Marsh says:

    Another week and another deceptive opinion piece by Wisconsin Budget Project. What specific education level is WBP comparing here? As is typical for their propaganda pieces, WBP conveniently leave out the details of what is being compared. Is the premise here that everyone wih a bachelors degree should be at the same pay level, no matter the difficulty of their field? So a K-5 teacher, which requires limited technical skills relative to those of an engineer, accountant, or computer science grad, should get paid the same as persons in those more demanding fields? There is a reason why STEM jobs are hard to fill- they are more difficult to qualify for and to work on. Face it, they require more brain power. Considering the medical and scientific advances that have been made over the years, registered nurses with a bachelor degree now have minimum course work that is more difficult and technical than what a typical school teacher encounters. How many teachers have taken a chemistry course, an advanced math course, or a higher level computer language course? I’m sure teachers in those specific areas have, but most K-5, social studies, english, history, and gym teachers probably have not.

    Another comparison point that is not mentioned is average age of teachers compared with the work force they are being compared with. Because teachers in Wisconsin typically retire in their late 50’s, at what should be their peak earning years, is their overall average pay lower when compared to the general workforce that has a later retirement age? That would be something disclosed, or at least discussed, in an unbiased, real news article regarding this issue. But don’t expect it in a slanted propaganda piece by partisan WBP which has an agenda for higher taxes and more government spending. (Is WBP funded by government employee unions? Would Urban Milwaukee even require them to disclose such a conflict of interest?)

    As to teacher jobs not getting filled- I know some recently graduated education majors. Their respective university’s education departments are fully enrolled and graduating the same or greater number of teachers they were ten years ago. So is the supposed shortage of teachers due to not enough job applicants or because we are in a period with a lot of baby boomer teachers retiring? Also, where is the shortage in Wisconsin? Which districts have unfilled teacher positions?

    Finally, as always, Urban Milwaukee again unethically and sleazily allows an editorial piece to placed on their site by a partisan, biased group without indicating it is an op-ed. When will Urban Milwaukee publish NRA weekly columns with NRA cherry-picked “facts” about guns? Or should Urban Milwaukee be considered more as a biased media site selling advertising, and not as a professional news site?

  15. Vincent Hanna says:

    Bill it has been well-documented that there has been a severe drop in both the number of people enrolling in teacher prep programs and the number of people completing a teacher prep program. People on the front lines, Deans of Education and the WASB and such, say a serious shortage problem is on the horizon. Did you happen to see the Public Policy Forum report? http://www.publicpolicyforum.org/research/help-wanted-analysis-public-school-teacher-pipeline-greater-milwaukee

    Also, where do you go for unbiased news?

  16. David Nelson says:

    I am interested to know if Bill has examined the information and sources which Vincent refers to above.

  17. Eric says:

    Bill Marsh–Have you ever taught a Kindergarten class? I have and it is the hardest thing I have ever done. You have to be an expert in about everything to be fair at the job. Your brain is taxed to the max as you go through everything you have ever learned about pedagogy and behavior.

    I’ve also worked in an office setting where you can look things up and you don’t need to make split second decisions that could sabotage the whole day. Working a regular job is a joke compared to teaching.

  18. Vincent Hanna says:

    Well-said Eric. I have worked a variety of jobs, and teaching is far and away the hardest one. It’s not even close.

  19. Jason says:

    I am still trying to figure out what I said that you deemed racist.

  20. David Nelson says:

    Jason – Give this statement another look: “Most of the students at MPS are of color and we cannot send them on a path to the criminal justice system so MPS simply choose not to report many assaults on students and teachers to the police.”

    A lot of assumption here.

  21. Jason says:

    Are not most students at MPS of color? When teachers are assaulted are the police always called, no. Do rules oriented students find themselves assaulted by trouble students? Yes. Do these infractions lead to punishments for the offender in a lot of cases. No.

  22. David Nelson says:

    Jason: When a careful reader evaluates your statement, they see a direct connection between color/race and trouble students. The broad statements you make are inflammatory and not helpful.

  23. Jason says:

    If you look at the blog dial log. I was talking about MPS teachers being overwhelmed by troubled students- this is a huge problem not only in Milwaukee but most urban cities controlled by Democrats for the past three generations. I enjoy how sensitive you all are. Get over your sensitivity.

  24. A Bus Driver says:

    @Jason: Your last comment is racist & you can pretend it’s not but, it is glaringly obvious.

  25. Jason says:

    I suppose that thick plastic shield that separates the passengers and the driver on MCTS buses is racist is well. 99% percent of people getting on a county bus will not attack the driver so we might as well get rid of that racist plastic wall.

  26. Vincent Hanna says:

    Jason maybe you should wonder why so many people feel the comment was racist. You also have yet to provide any evidence of your claim that teachers are regularly assaulted and it isn’t reported so that kids don’t enter the criminal justice system. It’s why everyone thinks you are a troll.

  27. Jason says:

    I am proud to be your troll. The state of Wisconsin is looking into this if you attempted to google. MPS is doing its best to hush its internal numbers and to hide the crime statistic at MPS. Vince, I never said that teachers are being assaulted regularly. Oh, by the way if MPS is such a great place to work, you can go back as a substitute for $25 an hour or as you seem to think the working poor wage.

  28. Vincent Hanna says:

    I have a position I am happy with, but otherwise I would go back to MPS.

    “MPS is doing its best to hush its internal numbers and to hide the crime statistic at MPS.”

    Evidence? Where is the evidence? Why the hell would anyone take your word for it?

  29. A Bus Driver says:

    @ Jason: “I suppose that thick plastic shield that separates the passengers and the driver on MCTS buses is racist is well. 99% percent of people getting on a county bus will not attack the driver so we might as well get rid of that racist plastic wall.” You ignorance is really pretty sad. What plastic wall? The one behind the driver’s seat? I can assure you it is NOT what You think it’s for. ALL transit buses have plexiglass behind the drivers compartment.

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