A report from National Education Association (NEA) Research, based on US census data, finds that annual pay for teachers has fallen sharply over the past 60 years compared to the annual pay of other workers with college degrees. Throughout the nation, the average earnings of workers with at least four years of college are now more than 50% higher than the average earnings of teachers.
The number of teachers staging rallies and threatening strikes over pay and benefits is growing. Following a statewide walkout in February, West Virginia teachers earned a modest raise. Meanwhile, Arizona teachers have conducted a series of #RedforEd demonstrations demanding higher pay. Jersey City, New Jersey, teachers went back to work March 19 after reaching a tentative agreement to end an eight-month dispute that led to a strike and school closures on Friday, March 16. Chief concerns for the 3,100 teachers were salaries and high health care costs. Oklahoma teachers who have not had a raise in a decade, have vowed to strike April 2 if there is no pay increase in the education budgets.
A 2016 NEA study ranked states from highest to lowest in terms of pay. West Virginia (48), Arizona (43), and Oklahoma (49) were among the lowest. Teachers in New York (1) and California (2) earned the most. Teachers in Mississippi (50) and South Dakota (51) earned the least.