Teacher Pay Remains Near ‘70s Level

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United Press International

The average American teacher’s salary has gone up almost $11,000 since 1981 but inflation has reduced the increase to only $500, according to a survey released Friday by the American Federation of Teachers.

“The news is good but clearly not as encouraging as we would like,” AFT President Albert Shanker said. “After years of neglect, teacher salaries are barely over the level they were at in the early 1970s.

The average elementary and secondary teacher was paid $17,364 in 1981, according to the AFT’s annual 50-state teacher salary report. The average for 1987-88 was $28,085.


Based on 1988 dollars, teachers with 15 years of experience earned $31,451 in 1972, almost $2,700 more than teachers with 16 years of experience are earning in 1988.

California teachers earned an average of $33,200 during the last school year, the sixth-highest in the nation and 18.2% above the national average. Since 1980-81, California teacher salaries have increased 69%.