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Some Cities' Teacher Salaries Barely Meet Middle-Class Lifestyles

Some Cities' Teacher Salaries Barely Meet Middle-Class Lifestyles, Study Finds

A new report finds that teachers in certain cities earn less than those in others, thus making it very difficult to live a middle-class lifestyle.

The report by the National Council on Teacher Quality “finds that while teachers in places like Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Columbus, Ohio, can reach a high salary benchmark relatively early in their careers, teachers in New York City, San Francisco and Fairfax County, Va., must work more than three decades to hit comparable salary levels, when adjusted for the cost of living in the cities,” according to an article on

“And over a career, teachers in Pittsburgh, Columbus and Atlanta are the highest-earning educators while teachers in San Francisco, Hawaii and New York City are the lowest,” the article said. When it comes to teacher pay, according to Kate Walsh, president of the council, “people tend to look at the starting salary and they tend to look at the ending salary. And there’s very little attention to lifetime earnings.”

Walsh said if districts want committed teachers, “they need to make sure that teachers can reach middle-class earnings early enough in their careers.”

“Teachers shouldn’t have to be buying their first house at the same time that other people are looking to downsize,” she said.

Traditionally, the article said, “teachers are paid based on years of experience and given extra credit for graduate degrees.”

“But some districts are experimenting with new pay structures that reward performance or the taking on of additional responsibilities,” said the Times. “And some districts, while still paying for experience and credentials, structure pay scales so that teachers can get close to the top earlier.”

“Teacher salaries have not kept up at all with the booming cost of living in San Francisco,” said Dennis Kelly, president of the United Educators of San Francisco, which represents 4,000 teachers and about 2,000 education workers like teaching assistants.

According to the report, the article said, “the highest salary that a San Francisco teacher can earn would have the purchasing power of just $31,692 in Las Vegas. In Pittsburgh, a teacher who receives an exemplary rating can earn a top salary with the equivalent purchasing power of $106,050.”

Read the full story and comment below. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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