Mike Addonizio, professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in the College of Education was quoted in a report for The Conversation US, "Are America’s teachers really underpaid?"Return to news listing
The Conversation, Houston Chronicle, San Francisco Chronicle, Idaho Press Tribune, 4/11
Are America’s teachers really underpaid?
By Michael Addonizio
Michael Addonizio, professor of educational leadership and policy studies, examines the growing disparity in compensation to America’s teachers. “In the spring of 2018, thousands of public school teachers walked out of their classrooms in a half-dozen states, protesting low salaries, rising class sizes and cuts to school budgets that have prompted most teachers to buy their own classroom supplies. Additional strikes followed in 2019 in Los Angeles, Denver and Oakland. While these walkouts, which enjoyed much public support, were about more than teacher pay, stagnant teacher salaries were central issues.” Addonizio points out that according to an Economic Policy Institute study, 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. Teacher wage gaps vary widely from state to state, but in no state does teacher pay equal or exceed pay for other college graduates. And it’s no coincidence that the four states with the largest gaps – Arizona, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Colorado – saw teacher protests in 2018. In some states, teacher salaries have been so low that teachers have qualified for public assistance. “Solving the teacher shortage problem, which afflicts every state to varying degrees, will require more than boosting teacher pay across the board. It will also take improving teachers’ working conditions, giving them more manageable class sizes and adding more support staff, such as psychologists, social workers, nurses and librarians. It will also take safe, well-maintained facilities and skilled principals who create the kind of school environments that make teachers want to stay.”