January 2017: New year, new Trendline!


Welcome to the Teacher Trendline, NCTQ's monthly newsletter designed especially for school district officials (subscribe here). Each month we highlight the latest trends in school district policies on teachers nationwide through data from NCTQ's Teacher Contract Database. Each issue shows another way you can use this database to answer your own questions. We'd love your feedback--write to

Over the last year, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) has expanded the number of districts included in the Teacher Contract Database by adding the 100 largest school districts in the country. With this work complete, the Teacher Trendline is shifting its sample: each month, the Trendline now will focus on the policies in the 100 largest districts in the country and the largest district in each state, for a total sample size of 124.

Not pictured above but included in the sample: Anchorage School District in Alaska and the Hawaii Department of Education

As you can see from this map, districts are spread throughout the country, especially in populous states (such as California, Texas, and Florida), as well as states with large, county-based districts (such as Georgia, Maryland, and North Carolina). Together, these districts serve over 11.5 million students and employ over 690,000 teachers. Trendline's new sample of districts covers the policies that govern workplaces for approximately 20 percent of public school teachers.

The districts in this sample range in size from tiny Burlington, Vermont (3,937 students, 323 teachers) to massive New York City (972,325 students, 62,807 teachers). The median size of the districts in our sample is just over 63,000 students, with roughly 3,800 teachers. You can see student and teacher counts for all 124 districts by visiting our interactive map.

Teacher Trendline will be back with our usual trend analysis in February. Until then, explore our interactive map to see all of the districts in the sample and visit the Teacher Contract Database to access all of our policy information and source documents. Start your own analyses if you like. Here's a tidbit to pique your interest.

Starting salary in 2015-2016 (not adjusted for cost of living):

  • High: Corona-Norco, CA $61,018
  • Low: Greenville County, SC $33,259
  • Average: $43,009
  • Median: $41,999

The Teacher Contract Database includes information on 154 school districts and 2 charter management organizations in the United States including: the 100 largest districts in the country, the largest district in each state, the member districts of the Council of Great City Schools, and districts that won the Broad Prize for Urban Education. The database features answers to over 100 policy questions and provides access to teacher contracts, salary schedules, and board policies in addition to relevant state laws governing teachers. 

— Kency Nittler with research support from Hannah Jarmolowski

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