The Recession's Impact on Teacher Salaries

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Teacher salary growth took a hit post-recession, according to our new report The Recession's Impact on Teacher Salaries, released today.

The report finds that teacher raises for experience and market forces like inflation were one-third to one-half of what they were at the beginning of the recession. While this slow-down in teacher salary growth was on par with that of comparable professions, some districts were hit particularly hard. Eighty percent of the school districts in our 41-district sample had a total pay freeze or pay cut in at least one school year between 2008-09 and 2011-12. However, no district had a pay cut or freeze every year and eight districts had positive salary growth each year between 2008-09 and 2011-12 (Fort Worth, Memphis, Milwaukee, New York City, Jefferson County, KY, Fresno, Chicago, and Baltimore City). Chicago Public Schools had the highest average raise over the four years at 6.5 percent.

The full report breaks down how each district adjusted its pay scheme to account for tightened budgets. Below is an overview of how each district was impacted.

As the economy rebounds we'll be keeping a close eye on how districts put resources back into teacher compensation. We recommend they invest more in their most effective teachers and move away from giving raises according to step-and-lane pay scales.