FACTS ABOUT TEACHERS

We have gathered some facts about the state of teachers and teaching in the U.S. today. Click the highlighted text in each point to read sources and explore further. 

ON WHY TEACHERS MATTER SO MUCH

Studies prove that a great teacher can impart a year and a half's worth of learning to a student in one year. 

Good teaching over a sustained period can [help students] overcome the disadvantages of poverty.  

Teachers work an average of ten hours per day and 1,927 hours per school year

ON U.S. SOCIETAL VIEWS OF TEACHING

61% of adults think teachers are underpaid given their level of training and importance to society.  

77% of U.S. adults feel teaching is among the most under-appreciated professions in the U.S. 

A 2015 survey found that only 4.2% of college freshmen are considering majoring in education, the lowest rate in 42 years.

76% of adults agree that many people don't go into teaching because being a teacher doesn't pay enough.  

ON TEACHER SALARIES

Only 4.7% of college juniors would consider teaching at the current starting salary. 68 percent of college students said they would consider the teaching profession if it paid 50 percent more than the current occupations they were considering.  

In 1970 in New York City, a starting lawyer going into a prestigious firm and a starting teacher going into public education had a differential in their entry salary of about $2,000. Today, including salary and bonus, that starting lawyer makes $160,000, while starting teachers in New York make roughly $45,000.  

If teacher pay had risen in proportion to per-pupil spending since 1970, the average teacher would make more than $120,000 today. 

The average starting salary for teachers in our country is $39,000; the average ending salary—after 25 years in the profession—is $67,000.  

As of 2015, teachers' weekly wages are 23% lower than those of other college graduates.

The wage gap between teachers who belong to a union and all other professions is -19.6%; for non-union teachers the gap jumps to -25.5%.

Teachers are priced out of home ownership in many metropolitan areas. 

99.5% of teachers reported spending their own money on their students or classrooms during the 2012-2013 school year. Of the $3.2 billion spent overall on school materials that year, $1.6 billion came directly from teachers' pockets.

ON TEACHER TURNOVER

46% of teachers in public schools leave the profession within five years.  

In the next 10 years, more than 1.8 million of the 3.2 million teachers will become eligible for retirement. 

14% of teachers leave the profession each year; in urban districts, the turnover is higher: 20 percent.  

High turnover of American teachers costs our country over $7 billion every year.  

Of teachers who leave the profession for reasons of dissatisfaction, poor salaries are the cause for 61 percent.