Decline of Pay for Teaching Relative to Other Professions
October 3, 2010 11:16 AM   Subscribe

I read somewhere at one time that the pay for teaching has declined relative to other professions starkly since the early 1900s, but I can't find a site to back this up... too much noise. Anyone have any info on this?
posted by mdpatrick to Education (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm sorry, I don't know the answer to this, but you might want to email the person who writes The Answer Sheet blog for the Washington Post (Education section). She seems to be aware of a lot of historical education data.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 11:26 AM on October 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


In the mid 40s, fresh out of school, first teaching job ever, my grandmother made $2,850/year teaching public elementary school (more than her father, a postal worker for many years, had ever made).

In the late 90s, with a master's and more than 10 years of teaching experience, my mom made $30,000 teaching private elementary school.

Inflation calculator.
posted by phunniemee at 11:50 AM on October 3, 2010

Awesome anecdote, thanks for sharing, phunniemee. Still looking for something a little more academic, but this is a good start.
posted by mdpatrick at 12:25 PM on October 3, 2010

In the late 90s, with a master's and more than 10 years of teaching experience, my mom made $30,000 teaching private elementary school.
That seems awfully low; maybe the difference is because it was a private school...? In the late 1980s I taught an Adult Ed class and used the classroom at a local public high school of a Social Studies teacher. One day while my students were busy working I got nosy and poked around the teacher's desk (I know it was wrong, feel free to chastise me) and I happened to find the teacher's W-2 form. I don't know what the teacher's credentials were or his seniority situation, but I do know that he earned just over $48,000 in 1988. According to this chart, the average annual salary for teachers in the Van Dyke Public School district (the district in which I was snooping) was $72,401 for 2008-09. Math was never my strongest subject; is an increase of a little under $30K over the course of 20 years in keeping with inflation and the national average wage rate and such?
posted by Oriole Adams at 12:37 PM on October 3, 2010

The National Education Association (teachers' union) has a whole section of their site dedicated to professional pay. The research tools part might have some good info.
posted by bluedaisy at 12:40 PM on October 3, 2010

Another search strategy (rather than an actual site): try using google or google scholar with the phrase "pink collar jobs."
posted by bluedaisy at 12:42 PM on October 3, 2010

From Ezra Klein's blog:
In 1970, the teaching profession was subsidized by discrimination against women and minorities. With few other professions open to them, the best and brightest went into teaching. Today, they go into law or medicine or finance. And the pay was better, at least relative to other professions: The initial pay gap between a lawyer starting at a prestigious firm and a teacher starting at a public school was about $2,000. Today, it's more than $100,000.
That's from this report from McKinsey.
posted by Jeanne at 5:34 PM on October 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

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