Nearly everyone agrees that teachers are underpaid in the United States. One recent estimate finds that American teachers are paid about twenty percent less than comparably experienced and skilled college graduates doing other jobs in the workforce.
Underpaying teachers has an obvious negative consequence: We get lower quality teachers because people with higher skills go into professions that pay them more.
While it may seem like a simple fix, it’s not as simple as raising pay across the board. After all, paying a bad teacher more money won’t turn them into a good teacher.
Retaining Effective Teachers
It is not enough for policymakers to raise teacher pay across the board to ensure positive learning outcomes for students. They have to also make sure that higher salaries go to the most effective teachers.