MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Oklahoma is just the latest state where teacher pay has reached its boiling point. For the second straight day, schools across the state are closed as teachers walk out of classrooms and into the state house rotunda.
Teacher Brian Davis earns just under $42,000 per year. To make ends meet, Davis works part-time as a pitching coach and driving for Uber.
“We’ve had teachers leaving for years,” he said, “and now it’s getting so bad students are leaving, too.”
According to salary figures from the National Education Association, teachers who work in higher cost states such as California, New York and Connecticut command the highest salaries. New York teachers earned on average $79,637 in 2017.
Minnesota and Wisconsin are slightly below the national average of $58,353. In 2017, Minnesota teachers earned an average salary of $57,346.
At the bottom of the list are the states of Mississippi, Oklahoma and South Dakota. Teachers in South Dakota earned an average salary of $42,025 last year.
“One of the last rankings I saw we’re about 19th,” said Denise Specht, president of Education Minnesota.
Specht cautions however that readers should not be misled by the numbers alone. Just because Minnesota ranks nineteeth on the list of teacher pay, doesn’t mean we are that far ahead of the worst paid teachers.
If you break down the salary numbers by monthly income, teachers in Minnesota will earn on average between $400 and $1000 more than the lowest paid in the country.
What she does see and worry about is a growing dissatisfaction among all educators over classroom support and stagnating salaries. Both are concerns that contribute to the state’s growing teacher shortage.
“I see Minnesota educators walking now,” Specht said. “It might not be on the picket line, but they are walking out of the classroom and leaving the profession.”