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Relative teacher salaries around the worldby Andrew Maisel
CEOs, software developers, doctors, lawyers, athletes, actors, accountants, plumbers, carpenters, whatever. In most occupations, we believe good ones are worth more, and we're willing to pay for it.
The OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) collects lots of economic data. One interesting study we came across compares the salaries of teachers around the world, relative to the average salaries of people with comparably educated workers of the same age in those countries. If pay is proportional to value, think of it as a measure of how important each country thinks teachers are to their children's education.
A ratio of 1.0 in a country would indicate that teachers are paid the same as comparably educated workers. That's true for 7 of the OECD countries, meaning most countries. The average for all nations was 88%; the US was at only 68%, ranking it 27th out of the 32 countries. The only countries with lower relative teacher salaries, were Italy, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, and the Slovak Republic. Click on the graph to see details, including relative salaries for different school levels.
So what's up with education and teacher salaries in the US? Why do we pay teachers almost 1/3 less than what comparably educated workers in other fields make? At those pay levels, why would the best and brightest be attracted to a career in teaching? And if other countries do a better job incenting their best and brightest to become teachers, how will our children compete in a knowledge-based world?
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