How much do you think beginning teachers are paid in Missouri? Would you guess $34K?
On April 24, 2023, the National Education Association released findings from four national reports on educator pay and school funding. The reports cover multiple topics including school staff wages and college faculty pay, as well as state spending on students.
The big takeaway? Educator pay has failed to keep up with inflation. In fact, U.S, teachers today are making $3,644 less, on average, than they did 10 years ago.
This trajectory is not sustainable. Educators are leaving the profession for greener pastures. School districts across America are experiencing teacher shortages and teacher preparation programs are finding it difficult to recruit students. According to the Learning Policy Institute (full report), almost 20% of teachers leave the profession because of low pay.
“For decades, America’s educators have been chronically underappreciated and shamefully underpaid,” said NEA President Becky Pringle. "If we want to reverse course and keep qualified teachers in the classroom and caring professionals in schools, then we must increase educator pay across the board and expand access to collective bargaining and union membership for all those working in public education,” said Pringle.
Where does Missouri fair?
Unfortunately, Missouri is at the bottom, according to the newly released NEA Research Reports (see below). For the second year in a row, Missouri ranks 50th in the nation for average beginning teacher pay ($34,052). Of the 518 school districts, only 43 started new teachers at $40,000 or above according to the NEA Benchmarks report, detailing 2021-2022 base salary. The 2021-2022 NEA Rankings and Estimates report puts Missouri teachers at 47th for average teacher pay ($52.481), up 1.79% from the previous year. The CPI index rose 7% during the same time period. Without big moves, Missouri teachers will keep falling behind.
The good news is that the Missouri legislature has finally taken notice. At the end of the 2022 legislative session, the Missouri General Assembly passed the Baseline Salary Grant to help school districts pay teachers at least $38,000. The grant required the cost to be shared by the state (70%) and school district (30%). However, it still leaves teachers behind the national average of $42,844 and under the national living wage of $46,944. Furthermore, not all eligible Missouri school districts applied for the grant, choosing not to raise teacher pay to the $38,000 minimum.
State law sets the minimum teacher salary at $25,000 and the minimum salary for a full-time teacher with a master’s degree with at least ten years of public teaching experience at $33,000. (MO Statute 163.172 established July 1, 2006; state minimums instituted in 2009-10.)
Help us raise teacher pay to $60K.
Join us in urging Congress to support the Pay Teachers Act (S. 766) and the American Teacher Act (H.R. 882). Both bills would increase teachers’ salaries to at least $60,000 a year.
NEA Salary Research Reports
Rankings and Estimates, which provides a wide array of school funding statistics and includes the average teacher salary by state and nationally.
Teacher Salary Benchmark Report, which provides information from nearly 12,000 school districts on average pay for new teachers, as well as additional career points.
ESP Earnings Report, which offers a breakdown of educational support professional (ESP) pay in K-12 and higher education.
Higher Education Faculty Salary Analysis, which looks at full-time faculty and graduate assistant salaries at the national, state, and institutional level.
For more NEA reports, please click here. This website also features an interactive map that shows where states rank on educator pay and student funding.
Missouri NEA Salary Research Reports can be found at www.mnea.org/research. These reports detail teacher pay in Missouri school districts.