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Report: Virginia Teachers Rank Low in Pay

The pay of Virginia’s public school teachers ranks near the bottom in the nation compared to the pay of comparable professions, a new study finds.

“The Teaching Penalty: an Update Through 2010,” published by the nonpartisan Economic Policy Institute, examined the weekly wages of public school teachers and members of professions requiring similar education and work experience. Nationally, the ratio of teacher pay to the pay of like professions was 77 percent. That’s the “teaching penalty.”

The results for Virginia were even more disheartening, though. Here in the Commonwealth, the ratio stands at 68 percent. Just a few other states did worse.

The EPI study provides some interesting context on the compensation issues facing the profession. Citing Census data, EPI noted that back in 1960, female teachers had a 15-percent wage advantage over comparably educated women in other professions. By 2000, as more opportunities opened up for women in the private sector, teachers were at a 13-percent pay disadvantage.

EPI’s brief on the study notes that even as teacher pay lags, some are calling for a complete overhaul of compensation, including some form of merit pay. It’s hard to imagine how pursuing merit pay gibes with the systemic underpaying of teachers currently taking place.

Access the EPI’s study here.



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