Last week, the National Center for Education Statistics released the first results of its newest School and Staffing Survey, which is administered to teachers and administrators across the United States every four years. The survey, which is meant to examine the characteristics of public school districts, including average teacher salary, sizes and types of districts, and incentives given to teachers, found that poverty among students is rising, as is teacher pay.
Here are the most interesting data points from the survey:
- The percentage of school districts with 50 percent or more students qualifying for free or reduced price lunch has grown. In the 2007-08 school year, about 34 percent of districts fell into that category. By the 2011-12 school year, this had increased by about 12 percentage points, to 46 percent of public school districts.
- While fewer districts are now offering salary scales for teachers, the average yearly base salary for teachers has increased. New teachers now start off making on average, about $35, 500, an increase of about $2,000 from 2007-08.
- The average number of teachers in public school districts has declined from 211 in 2007-08, to 187.
- Rural districts are still the most common, and account for about 48 percent of all public school districts.
- Teachers in suburban districts have higher average salaries than teachers in city, town, or rural districts. In the 2011-12 school year, the average for a suburban teacher with 10 years of experience was $53,500, an increase of $3,000 from 2007-08. In a rural district, a teacher with the same qualifications would receive, on average, $41,300.
- Teachers are now less likely to receive a signing bonus or relocation assistance. In the 2007-08 school year, nearly 7 percent of public school districts offered this as a tactic to recruit new teachers, and 3.6 percent offered help in relocating. Now, only 4 percent offer a bonus and 2.5 percent offer relocation assistance. Large districts with 20 or more schools or more than 10,000 students enrolled are more likely to offer these incentives.
- While only 11 percent of all public districts offer pay incentives for excellent teaching, city districts are overwhelmingly more likely to do so. About 35 percent of city districts reward good teaching with money, compared to 6.7 percent of rural districts.