Teacher Salary

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Raising teacher salaries will be necessary to stem a serious teacher shortage caused in large part by a red-hot job market offering lucrative salaries to college graduates, the American Federation of Teachers said today in releasing its 1997-98 teacher salary survey. "To attract college graduates to teaching, salaries must keep pace with other professions that are luring people away from the classroom. Teaching is enormously gratifying, and many more would make it their career choice if they felt they were treated like professionals," said AFT President Sandra Feldman. Along with higher salaries, she said schools must also reduce class sizes, enforce a strict discipline policy, modernize school buildings, and make other improvements to attract and retain teachers.The U.S. Department of Education has estimated that 2 million teachers will need to be hired over the next decade. According to the AFT report, the chief reasons for the teacher shortage include inferior salaries, a rapidly graying teaching force and increasing enrollments due to the so-called "baby boomlet."The national average beginning teacher salary in the 1997-98 school year was $25,735. By contrast, new college graduates in 1998 received an average salary offer in other fields of more than $35,000. For example, in engineering, offers averaged $42,862; computer science, $40,920; math or statistics, $40,523; chemistry, $36,036; business administration, $34,831; accounting, $33,702; and sales/marketing, $33,252.The national average teacher salary in the 1997-98 school year was $39,347. By contrast, the 1998 average annual salary of other white-collar occupations was much higher. For example, attorneys earned $71,530; engineers, $64,489; computer systems analysts, $63,072; buyer/contract specialists, $54,625; and accountants, $45,919.In the early 1990s, corporate downsizing contributed to a poor job market for new college graduates and new teacher salaries increased at two or three times the rate of...
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