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The Teaching Profession in 2018

In Charts

Feb 12, 2019

By Madeline Will

The year 2018 will go down in history as a milestone year for the teaching profession.

In six states, tens of thousands of teachers walked out of their classrooms to protest low salaries and cuts to school funding. Nearly 180 current classroom teachers ran for their state legislatures on a platform centered around funding education, and 43 of those teachers were elected. Suddenly, the whole country seemed to be talking about how underpaid and overworked teachers are. No wonder some deemed 2018 as the "year of the teacher."

And these implications will stretch far beyond the new year. Take a look at some of the most significant research findings related to teachers that were published in 2018.

More Than Half of Teachers Are Not Satisfied With Their Salaries

Fifty-five percent of teachers said they are not satisfied with their teaching salary, according to data from the 2015-16 National Teacher and Principal Survey, a nationally representative survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Education.

The national average public school teacher salary for 2016-17 was $59,660, according to data from the National Education Association. (The NEA estimated that the average salary for the 2017-18 school year is $60,483.) But this varies widely between states.

And teachers who are not satisfied with their paychecks are more likely to say their enthusiasm is waning, they'd consider leaving the profession for a higher-paying job, and the stress and disappointments of teaching "aren't really worth it."

Teaching Profession CHART 1

Teachers Say Salary Is Key to Recruitment and Retention

The Education Week Research Center conducted a nationally representative survey of more than 500 K-12 teachers, and asked what districts should do differently to find and hire high-quality teachers. The No. 1 answer was to improve pay and benefits, followed by offering more professional autonomy, greater respect, and better working conditions.

But when asked what keeps teachers in their current jobs, 18 percent said leadership is a key factor, while 17 percent cited salary considerations. (For more ideas on getting and keeping good teachers, check out Education Week's special report.)


Teaching Profession CHART 2A

Teaching Profession CHART 2B

The Public Thinks Teachers Should Be Paid More, Too

After the spate of wide scale teacher walkouts that protested low wages, the public is more in favor of raising teacher pay. A nationally representative survey from the journal Education Next found that nearly half of those provided with information on average teacher salaries in their state said the pay should increase. That's 13 percent higher than last year, and the largest change in opinion that EdNext saw on any single policy from last year.

Teaching Profession CHART 3A

Teaching Profession CHART 3B

Madeline Will is a reporter for Education Week who covers the teaching profession. She writes for the Teacher Beat blog.

SOURCE:  Education Week