Tribune: Group sets goal to meet median teacher pay

Monday, September 18, 2017

The East Valley Tribune reported that the Arizona Education Progress Meter, a joint project from Expect More Arizona and the Center for the Future of Arizona, is challenging the state to raise elementary teacher pay to the national median within five years.

Currently, the median elementary school teacher salary in Arizona of $42,730 ranks 48th in the nation behind Mississippi and Oklahoma, according to recent numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

However, a study by Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University from May found that Arizona’s elementary teacher pay ranked 50th in the country when cost-of-living adjustments were taken into consideration.

Low pay is making it difficult for public schools in Arizona to recruit and retain teachers as some opt to leave for higher-paying states or leave the profession entirely.

Of all public-school teachers hired in Arizona in 2013, 42 percent were no longer teaching in the state by 2016. The median salary for teachers in California is $30,000 per year higher than Arizona and teachers in New Mexico and Nevada earn $10,000 to $15,000 more per year than Arizona teachers, according to Morrison Institute.

There is a consensus among several public school officials at districts across the East Valley that a commitment from the state will be necessary to meet the Progress Meter’s goals for teacher salaries.

READ: Education group fights for higher pay for EV teachers