Sep 2, 2022 - News

Arkansas is middle of the road in teacher pay gap

Reproduced from EPI; Map: Axios Visuals

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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