Facts About Teachers

If teacher pay had risen in proportion to per-pupil spending since 1970, the average teacher would make more than $120,000 today.
• Studies prove that a great teacher can impart a year and a half’s worth of learning to a student in one year. source
• 46 percent of teachers in public schools leave the profession within five years. source
• Teachers make 14 percent less than people in other professions that require similar levels of education. source
• In the next 10 years, more than 1.8 million of the 3.2 million teachers will become eligible for retirement. source
• 14 percent of teachers leave the profession each year; in urban districts, the turnover is higher: 20 percent. source
• High turnover of American teachers costs our country over $7 billion every year. source
• Teachers are priced out of home ownership in 32 metropolitan areas. source
• Only 4.7 percent of college juniors would consider teaching at the current starting salary. 68 percent of college students said they would consider the teaching profession if it paid 50 percent more than the current occupations they were considering. source
• The average starting salary for teachers in our country is $39,000; the average ending salary—after 25 years in the profession—is $67,000. source
• In 1970 in New York City, a starting lawyer going into a prestigious firm and a starting teacher going into public education had a differential in their entry salary of about $2,000. Today, including salary and bonus, that starting lawyer makes $160,000, while starting teachers in New York make roughly $45,000. source
• Teachers work an average of ten hours per day and 52 hours per week. source
• 92.4 percent of teachers spent their own money on their students or classrooms during the 2007-2008 school year. source
• Of teachers who leave the profession for reasons of dissatisfaction, poor salaries are the cause for 61 percent. source
• 61 percent of adults think teachers are underpaid given their level of training and importance to society. source
• 77 percent of U.S. adults feel teaching is among the most under-appreciated professions in the U.S. source
• 76 percent agree that many of the smartest people in society don’t go into teaching because being a teacher doesn’t pay enough. source
• Good teaching over a sustained period can [help students] overcome the disadvantages of poverty. source
Close [x] “TIME Poll Results: Americans’ Views on Teacher Tenure, Merit Pay and Other Education Reforms.” Time, September 20, 2010. View full poll results.