The teacher pay gap is growing: Teachers are now paid 18.7% less than comparable professions

The teacher pay gap is growing, according to a  new analysis, and teachers nationwide are now paid 18.7% less than people in comparable professions. That is an increase from 17% three years ago.

“The erosion of teacher pay relative to that of comparable workers in the last couple of years — and in fact since 2008 — reflects state policy decisions (mainly tax cuts) rather than the result of revenue challenges brought on by the Great Recession,” according to the analysis by the the Economic Policy Institute.

The EPI said the teacher wage penalty — how much less teachers make than comparable workers — grew from 5.5 percent in 1979 to a record 18.7 percent in 2017. The wage penalty was fairly stable from 1979 to the mid-1990s but then grew into the early 2000s. After some variability in the mid-2000s, the increasing teacher wage penalty continued to grow from 2010 through 2017, rising from 12.1 to 18.7 percent — driven by a particularly large increase in the wage penalty for female teachers.

The analysis noted that while teacher benefits are still generally higher than benefits in other professions, they are also declining and do not begin to make up for the loss in salary. The total teacher compensation penalty was a record-high 11.1 percent in 2017 (composed of an 18.7 percent wage penalty plus a 7.6 percent benefit advantage), it said.

The EPI offered two analyses. In the first, public school teacher wages were compared to wages of workers with comparable education, experience, and other characteristics, resulting in the 18.7% pay gap estimate. To break down comparisons by states, the analysis was more limited, comparing public school teachers with other college graduates by education level. In that second comparison, the national pay gap was 23.8%, and the pay gap for Wisconsin teachers was 22.2%.

“If the policy goal is to improve the quality of the entire teaching workforce, then raising the level of teacher compensation, including wages, is critical to recruiting and retaining higher-quality teachers,” the EPI analysis concludes. “Policies that solely focus on changing the composition of current compensation (e.g., merit or pay-for-performance schemes) without actually increasing compensation levels are unlikely to be effective. Simply put, improving overall teacher quality, preventing turnover, and strengthening teacher retention requires eliminating the teacher pay penalty.”

Read entire analysis:

The teacher pay penalty has hit a new high: Trends in the teacher wage and compensation gaps through 2017

Teacher strikes in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Colorado have raised the profile of deteriorating teacher pay as a critical public policy issue. Teachers and parents are protesting cutbacks in education spending and a squeeze on teacher pay that persist well into the economic recovery from the Great Recession.

Read more in The Guardian:

Teacher pay drops 5% in last decade – despite better qualified staff

American teachers are getting paid less – even though they are better qualified than ever, new research has found. Teacher salaries are down by nearly 5% compared with before the Great Recession – and it’s not because teachers are younger or less educated, according to the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution.

 

DPI honors 5 Friends of Education, including Wis. Public Education Network

From the Department of Public Instruction

Five organizations across the state are being named 2018 Friends of Education for their work on behalf of Wisconsin school children. State Superintendent Tony Evers will recognize the groups during his annual State of Education Address and Awards Program September 20 at the Capitol in Madison. 

“These organizations are transforming young lives,” Evers said. “From strengthening school and business partnerships, to advocacy for teachers and public education, to volunteering and providing financial support, they are making a difference for students and schools in their communities.” 

Evers will present his Friend of Education awards to 

  • Wisconsin Public Education Network (WPEN).
  • Boys & Girls Club of the Wausau Area.
  • Metropolitan Milwaukee Alliance of Black School Educators Inc. (MMABSE). 
  • Rhinelander Partners in Education.
  • Service League of Green Bay.

The awards ceremony follows the noon State of Education Address in the Capitol Rotunda on September 20. Wisconsin’s five 2018-19 Teachers of the Year will also be recognized. Additional information about each Friend of Education award recipient follows. 

The Wisconsin Public Education Network is a loose, nonpartisan coalition of parents, community members, educators, board members, school districts, advocacy teams, and professional organizations united in the shared support and concern for the 860,000 children attending Wisconsin’s public schools. The organization’s advocacy is driven by a simple belief: that every single child in every single public school in Wisconsin deserves an equal shot at a successful future. WPEN’s grassroots efforts have members attending hearings, generating local action on education-related legislation, coordinating local-level days of action, and working with local teams to help pass school referenda. The relationship-based organizing model focuses on local-level action with statewide impact, providing thousands of Wisconsinites with the tools, credibility, and confidence needed to share their stories and concerns for public education. Accepting the award on behalf of the thousands of supporters connected under the WPEN umbrella will be Heather DuBois Bourenane, Marcia Engen, Chris Hambuch-Boyle, Jenni Hofschulte, and Melissa Prochaska.

For 23 years, the Boys & Girls Club of the Wausau Area has enriched and transformed thousands of young lives. The first club house opened in 1997 with approximately 500 members. Today, the organization serves over 2,500 youth at four sites with meaningful activities such as field trips throughout the Wausau area, the Teen Cuisine cooking class, reading programs, and athletic opportunities. Support for growth and activities is through the generosity of the local community and commitment of the club’s board and staff. Receiving the award on behalf of the Boys & Girls Club of the Wausau Area will be Kim Larsen, assistant executive director, and Casey Nye, board president. 

Founded in 1969, the Metropolitan Milwaukee Alliance of Black School Educators Inc. (MMABSE) is a source of support for teachers and administrators committed to the education of African-American children. MMABSE and its members work with Milwaukee Public Schools’ Black and Latino Male Achievement Department to address disparities in the lives of black and Latino young men. MMABSE retirees volunteer in schools participating in the Dr. Seuss Read Across America event. Through its annual Bowl-A-Thon, MMABSE members raise funds to provide student scholarships. The organization convenes one of the largest teacher appreciation events in Wisconsin, recognizing outstanding teachers at its Annual Teacher Gala. Receiving the award for Metropolitan Milwaukee Alliance of Black School Educators will be Patricia Kline, member; Past President Rogers Onick; and current President Darrell Williams. 

Rhinelander Partners in Education is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization focusing on strengthening the ties between local businesses and schools and providing learning opportunities inside and outside the classroom. Rhinelander Partners in Education exposes students to their community and potential careers through efforts like Careers on Wheels and Mad Money, as well as by providing guest speakers and job shadow opportunities. The organization works with local businesses, organizations, and public and private schools to make Rhinelander a better place for generations to come. Receiving the award for Rhinelander Partners in Education will be Board President Ben Meyer, Vice-President Teri Maney, and co-founder Leah Van Zile. 

The Service League of Green Bay is made up of friends, activists, philanthropists, and dreamers bound by a single goal: to meet the physical, educational, and emotional needs of the children in Brown County by providing volunteerism and financial support. The Service League provides many needed resources for children and young people through child-focused efforts, such as Basics for Babies, Basic Necessities, and Teens for Independent Living. The Service League’s largest annual event is the Back-To-School store, which provides new clothes, sneakers, school supplies, and dental screenings to over 1,500 elementary school students. An additional 1,500 backpacks loaded with school supplies go to middle school children. At the Back-To-School Store, children are paired with a volunteer shopper and independently choose items they want to start their school year off right. Accepting the award on behalf of the Service League of Green Bay will be Board President Lauren Wooton and Immediate Past President Anna Burnette.

$269 million in taxpayer money has been given to private voucher schools so far this biennium

Democrats on the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee released a memo from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau Tuesday revealing that private voucher schools in Wisconsin have received $269.6 million in state funding so far in the 2017-19 biennium, while public schools have seen a $90.6 million reduction in state aid. The memo also showed that:

  • Approximately $475 million of taxpayer dollars were paid to voucher schools over the 2015-17 biennium, during which time public schools in those districts faced a $150 million aid reduction.
  • Private school voucher programs in Wisconsin have already received over $2.5 billion [$2,576,900,000 approx.] in total state funding, and that number is only growing.

The Democrats released the figures in a news release in which they stated:

“As our children go back to school, we want the best for them and their bright futures. But Republicans have funneled millions of tax dollars to unaccountable voucher schools while our K-12 public schools continue to go to referendum just to keep the lights on,” said Rep. Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point). “Instead of funneling tax dollars to private schools, the Legislature should fairly fund our public schools so that everyone in Wisconsin has the same opportunity to learn and succeed.”

“Taxpayers have the right to know how much of their hard earned dollars are going toward voucher schools, especially since voucher schools are not required to meet the same accountability standards as public schools and have shown no significant improvements over public school performance,” said Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton).

“Access to a quality education should not depend on your zip code. Unfortunately, eight years of misplaced Republican priorities have made it impossible to ensure our public schools can meet and exceed our standards for educational excellence. We must invest in our public education system so that all of our children have equal access to the best educational opportunities – it’s what they deserve,” said Sen. LaTonya Johnson (D-Milwaukee).

“As a mother of two children in public school and a member of the budget committee, I hear from people across our state who question why my Republican colleagues and Governor Walker are creating a second, private school system while not adequately and consistently funding the public school system where most of our Wisconsin children are educated,” said Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison). “Republicans’ big campaign donors want to privatize public education to make a buck, and they are willing to destroy our public school system to do so. People should be outraged by their disregard for the 870,000 children in public schools, whose future, and our state’s future, depends on a strong public school system.”

A copy of the Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau memo can be found here.

WEAC supports mandatory reporting by educators of suspected human trafficking

In a letter to State Superintendent Tony Evers, WEAC President Ron Martin on Thursday said WEAC supports adding “any form of human trafficking” to requirements for mandatory reporting by education employees.

“As we work to combat and eradicate sex trafficking, WEAC believes we should also be working to combat any form of human trafficking,” Martin wrote. “Because of that, WEAC supports requiring education employees to report suspected illegal trade of people for commercial gain – both through sexual exploitation and forced labor.”

“We believe every student deserves a safe, welcoming, and affirming learning environment,” he wrote. “School should be a safe haven for students, especially for those students who lack safety or security. It is important for educators and school officials to understand how human trafficking impacts schools and recognize the indicators of possible child trafficking.”

Martin said WEAC will work to promote the Exploitation Indicator Response Guide as a helpful resource in reporting suspected child sex trafficking to our members. We will also be promoting NEA and national resources on combating human trafficking.

Read the entire letter:

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