Arkansas is middle of the road in teacher pay gap
Arkansas is 25th in the nation when it comes to the teacher pay gap, which measures educators' salaries compared to other college-educated professionals.
Why it matters: Arkansas' teacher salaries are among the lowest in the U.S., which impacts its ability to recruit and retain educators.
- The minimum starting salary for a teacher in the 2022-23 school year is set at $36,000, up from $34,900 last school year.
- Pay was one of the biggest reasons teachers have considered leaving the field, according to a January survey by the National Education Association.
Flashback: This summer, Gov. Asa Hutchinson supported raising teacher salaries to a minimum of $46,000 and implementing at least a $4,000 salary increase. But citing lack of legislative support, he didn't include it on the agenda for the most recent special legislative session.
By the numbers: Arkansas teachers make 20.5% less than college-educated workers in other fields, according to a recent report from the Economic Policy Institute.
- The average annual salary for state teachers at the end of the 2021-22 school year — regardless of education, tenure or district — was $51,668, compared to the national average of $65,293, according to a National Education Association report.
- Arkansas' gap is better than all of its neighboring states with the exception of Mississippi, which has a 14.7% gap.
- The national average teacher pay gap is 23.5%.
Context: EPI's report looks at weekly wages as opposed to annual salary to factor in the "summers off" issue for teachers.
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