1 December 2004
Some green with that apple?
The National Education Association has released its annual teacher-salary survey, and once again Oklahoma is near the bottom: 50th, at $35,061. Only South Dakota ranks lower.
These figures do not take into account recent legislative moves to increase teacher pay and benefits, which will not be reflected in the NEA's numbers for at least a year.
The connection between teacher salaries and quality of education is at best somewhat frayed: the District of Columbia, ranked at a lofty #3 by NEA at $57,009, has some major problems in its schools. And Oklahoma's low cost of living, relatively low taxes, and (once fully in place) competitive benefits package tend to offset the low salary numbers.
Still, it is true that many teachers have left the classroom for greener pastures, and retention of experienced teachers is certainly a worthy goal. NEA's focus on salaries is to be expected it is a labor union, after all but last I looked, about 50 percent of teachers were paid salaries below the national median, and this isn't going to change no matter how many surveys get published.