Missouri teachers see lowest average salary

Missouri is low on teacher pay and lags far behind national averages.

Missouri teachers earn an average of $ 50,817, which ranks 45th in the country for teacher compensation, according to 2019-2020 data from the National Education Association, the most recent report. Early career teachers, who are just starting out, are even worse than those in other states. For the years 2019-2020, they earned an average of $ 32,970, which was the lowest reported starting salary.

The National Education Association collects data from public schools nationwide annually. Their report tracks teacher salaries, student enrollments, and investments by various state education departments.

In the group’s most recent report, teacher salaries across the country have stagnated over the past decade. Average salary increases have risen just over 1% each school year since 2009. And for the 2021 school year, the National Education Association predicts that teachers in Missouri will experience a 1.4% increase, which is lower than the nationwide expected increase.

The increase will bring the average salaries of teachers in Missouri to $ 51,557 in the 2020 to 2021 school year, which is still more than $ 10,000 below the projected national average.

Although the 2019-20 school year brought beginning teachers their biggest pay rise, nearly 2.5%, since the Great Recession, those in Missouri still rank last in the country for starting salaries. means.

“As public schools across the country grapple with a looming teacher shortage that has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the best indicators for attracting and retaining teachers is to look at starting and average salaries for the profession, ”said Becky Pringle. , the president of the National Education Association in an April press release.

Raising wages could prevent an exodus from the profession following the pandemic, she said in the statement.

The group advocates that salaries for early-career teachers start at $ 40,000, less than $ 10,000 more than those of teachers in Missouri.

More than 75,466 teachers work in public school districts in Missouri and, compared to other professionals with the same level of education, they earn 76 cents on the dollar, according to 2020 data from the Economic Policy Institute. Many early-career teachers must take on multiple jobs just to make ends meet.

Teachers in Kansas who are just starting out were paid about $ 5,000 more on average during the 2019-20 school year than those in Missouri. Illinois teachers did even more, ranking 22nd in the country for early-career teachers and 12th for average teacher salaries. Neighboring states to the north like Iowa and Nebraska also rank higher than Missouri for average teacher salaries, respectively 24th and 30th nationally.

Pringle said she did not know how COVID would affect this data because the pandemic has completely changed public education.

“We are still in a funding hole that was dug decades ago. The country cannot afford to let go of the pedal of progress, ”she said in the statement.

This story was originally published 12 December 2021 at 12:40 pm.

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