May 1, 2019
Massachusetts teachers are among the most highly paid in the country. Bay State teachers' average salaries ranked third-highest in the country, according to a nationwide analysis published this week by one of the country's largest education unions. The National Education Association, based in Washington, D.C., on Monday released its annual "Rankings and Estimates" report.
Overall, the national average for teacher salary increased from $59,539 in 2016-17 to $60,477 in 2017-18. Average salaries ranged from as low as $44,926 in Mississippi to as high as $84,227 in New York.
Massachusetts teachers earned on average $80,357 a year in 2017-18, good for third-highest in the nation. Bay State teachers who were just starting out earned $45,498, ranking eighth-highest in the country.
Here are the 10 states where teacher salaries were highest:
New York, $84,227
Washington, D.C., $76,486
New Jersey, $69,917
Rhode Island, $66,758
Nationwide, the union's analysis found that salaries have increased 11.2 percent since 2008-09.
But that doesn't tell the whole story. When adjusted for inflation, the teachers actually make on average 4.5 percent less than they did 10 years ago. The report did not provide inflation-adjusted salary changes by state.
NEA President Lily Eskelsen García said educator pay "continues to erode." This means the large gap in pay between what educators earn and what similarly educated professionals earn in other jobs continues to expand.
"Educators don't do this work to get rich, they do this work because they believe in students," García said in a news release. "But their pay is not commensurate with the dedication and expertise they bring to the profession."
Starting salaries for teachers also remain below pre-recession levels, the group added. The typical beginning teacher salary, when adjusted for inflation, fell nearly 3 percent over the last decade. The squeeze has been felt in some states more than others, particularly in Wisconsin and Michigan.
The reality for many teachers is that the base salary simply isn't enough. About one in five have to work a second job to make ends meet, the union said.