Friday, April 19, 2013

The History of Teacher Pay

As pressing as this issue is in today's world, it is important to know the history of teacher pay to see how it has changed over the years.

According to a CPRE article, there have been three major shifts in the way teachers have been paid in the United States. In the 1800s, teachers were paid by a "boarding round" system, which consisted of room and board for the teacher provided by the local community. In the early 1900s, teachers started to be paid on a position-based salary schedule. This meant that elementary teachers were paid less than secondary teachers because of the differences in educational requirements for each position. The third historical shift came in the latter half of the 1900s. The single-salary schedule paid teachers the same salary if they had the same qualifications, and race and gender were not factors anymore. This system also instituted a pay raise for increasing years of experience, similar to what is practiced today.

Similarly, looking at the salary amount of teachers over time is important too. In a Chicago Mag article, the author looked at average teaching salaries over time to comment on the change that has occurred. In 1966 (the first year the author looked at), the average starting salary of a teacher was $5,500. Fast forward to 2010 where the starting pay was $50,500.

It is amazing how far it has come, yet how far it still has to go. (Side note: Chicago's average teacher salaries are higher than the national average.)

In the 2013 Texas legislative session, HB 176 was referred to the Public Education committee on February 6 and is still "in committee."

Preston Chilton
Post 4

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