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U.S. Falls Behind Other Countries in Making Teacher Profession Attractive

U.S. Falls Behind Other Countries in Making Teacher Profession Attractive

In the U.S. education community, it’s no longer news that the teaching profession does not get the respect (or pay!) it deserves.

This reality is further validated by recent insights from Dick Startz for the Brookings Institute.

First and foremost, American teachers are significantly underpaid in comparison to other countries, even countries that don’t pay extremely well.

"Even against modest-paying Finland, American teachers are underpaid. If we wanted to raise the relative salaries of American teachers to the level seen in Finland, we’d require a 10 percent raise for primary school teachers, an 18 percent raise in lower secondary, and a 28 percent raise for upper secondary school teachers,” the article.

But pay isn’t the whole part of the equation. While pay, of course, is an important tool for recruiting individuals into a particular field, there’s another valuable tool that the U.S. also lacks in recruiting teachers: prestige.

Finland, though it doesn’t pay its educators as much as nearby countries do, has become a story of educational success because its teachers enjoy unwavering respect from fellow citizens.

"Finland pays a fair amount better than the U.S [but] [t]he prestige attached to being a teacher is enormously higher,” Startz says.

"My guess is that being a teacher has both more prestige and better working conditions in other industrialized countries than here at home.”

Read the full story.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor


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