Houston, Texas, USA: National Teacher Appreciation Week is set aside to thank the educators who support, nurture, and inspire students across the United States. This week, thousands of teachers in Arizona and Colorado descended on statehouses to demand better pay and school funding.
Since the 2009-10 school year, teachers’ salaries dipped an average of 5 percent, to $58,950 in 2016-2017, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
During the last decade, 29 states reduced state funding of schools below 2008 levels, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Years of cuts to classroom funding, along with subpar pay, have inspired the latest revolt among teachers, beginning in West Virginia, where a nine-day strike resulted in a $2,000 pay raise. The fervor spread to red states like Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Arizona, eventually turning to Colorado, where teachers rallied on Friday for a second day outside the state capitol.
It appears many Americans agree with them—and support their efforts to shut down schools to make their case to lawmakers. An AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll released earlier this week found that 78 percent of Americans thought teachers needed a raise
In May 2017, there were nearly 4.2 million preschool, primary, secondary, and special education teachers in the United States. Their average annual wage was $58,780. Among these, there were about 1 million secondary school teachers with an average annual wage of $62,860, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.
By state, average annual wages of secondary school teachers ranged from around $42,000 in Oklahoma and South Dakota to over $80,000 in Alaska and New York.
Of the 51 metropolitan areas with a 2010 Census population of 1 million or more, the highest paid area for secondary school teachers was New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA, with an average annual wage of $87,260. The lowest paid area for secondary school teachers was Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with an average annual wage of $42,970.
Average annual wages for secondary school teachers, except special and career/technical education, May 2017
|State||Ranking||Average annual wage|
|District of Columbia||15||64,420|