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EconomicPolicyInstitute March 6, 2008

For all the attempts to improve education in recent years, one tactic apparently has not been tried: Raising wages to draw top talent to the vocation of teaching. In fact, according to an EPI study being released this week, relative pay for public school teachers has been falling rather dramatically, even when benefits and time off are taken into consideration.The Teaching Penalty

The Teaching Penalty: Teacher Pay Losing Ground, by EPI research associates Sylvia Allegretto and Sean Corcoran and President Lawrence Mishel, shows that weekly earnings for teachers have lost ground any way you slice it—by education, by gender, and by age. The report is available in book form and will be posted in full on our Web site on Friday, March 7.

The trends are shown graphically in this week’s Snapshot. In 2006, public school teachers earned 15.1% less than other employees with comparable education credentials and experience—a substantial jump since 1996, when the disadvantage was only 4.3%. Men were particularly disadvantaged—by 25.5%, compared to 10.5% for women—because in the larger economy, men tend to earn more. Mishel explains that teachers did not share in the earnings gains experienced by most U.S. workers in the late 1990s. When wages stagnated for all college graduates in the new millennium, those of teachers fared even worse.

Noteworthy: EPI research associate Richard Rothstein was honored by the American Education Finance Association (AEFA) for his writings on education in books, a New York Times column, and elsewhere. In selecting Rothstein for the prestigious annual award, AEFA officials praised his work for its “accuracy, objectivity, and insight.”

A bigger and better EPI board

As part of an initiative to broaden EPI’s reach, we have added 12 new directors to our board, bringing the total to 31. We are excited about the depth of knowledge and geographic diversity these new members bring to the EPI mission.We will be introducing them, in alphabetical order, through the next four installments of EPI News.

Rebecca M. BlankRebecca M. Blank is the Henry Carter Adams Collegiate Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Economics at the University of Michigan. She is also co-director of the National Poverty Center at the Ford School. From 1997 to 1999, she served as a member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors. Her research has focused on the interaction between the macroeconomy, government anti-poverty programs, and the behavior and well-being of low-income families.

Teresa Ghilarducci
Teresa Ghilarducci is the Bernard L. And Irene Schwartz Chair in Economic Policy Analysis at the New School for Social Research. Previously a professor of economics at the University of Notre Dame, she frequently publishes in journals and testifies before the U.S. Congress.

 

Ernest Green
Ernest Green was one of the Little Rock Nine, who in 1957 broke racial barriers by becoming one of the first African American students to attend classes at Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas. The Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Affairs under President Jimmy Carter, Green is now senior managing director at Lehman Brothers investment banking firm in Washington, D.C.

 

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