Home Minnesota Educator Minnesota ranks 15th in teacher pay, 19th in ESP pay, NEA report says

Minnesota ranks 15th in teacher pay, 19th in ESP pay, NEA report says

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Although Minnesota has made strides to increase educator pay—with successful union work driving much of these increases—teacher and ESP pay are still struggling to keep up with inflation and private sector salaries.

A report recently released by the National Education Association (NEA) on educator pay shows that Minnesota ranked 15th in teacher pay and 19th in education support professional (ESP) pay. For the 2022-23 fiscal year, the average teacher salary was $70,005 and the average ESP salary was $34,289. For starting teacher salaries, our state ranked 25th in the nation, with an average of $43,181.

An almost 4% increase in salaries from 2021-22 to 2022-23 brought Minnesota above the national average of $69,544. Our state has also seen a sizeable jump in average teacher salary over the past several years: in 2019, the average teacher salary was $61,362. These increases are largely due to the work our members have done to build solidarity and collective power through their union. NEA’s report found that in states with collective bargaining, both teacher and ESP pay are significantly higher than in states where collective bargaining is banned.

These gains are important, but Minnesota’s educator pay is not yet high enough to combat the educator shortage and rising inflation. While educator pay has increased, it has not outpaced inflation. According to the Economic Policy Institute, a one-parent and one-child family must make $63,957 to earn a living wage in Minnesota. This means starting teacher salaries are around $20,000 per year below the threshold for a living wage.

Furthermore, the teacher pay gap was 72 cents on the dollar for the 2022-23 fiscal year. That means that, on average, Minnesota teachers make only 72 cents for every dollar made by a private-sector professional with similar experience and education. This gap limits the ability of districts to attract and retain educators. Our state continues to struggle with an educator shortage. According to the 2023 Supply and Demand Report, 84% of school districts are impacted by the shortage. One third of new teachers leave the profession within the first five years, and the number of first-year educators has decreased every year since 2017.*

Education Minnesota is leading the movement for fair educator pay. We have assisted locals on the ground by providing support through the bargaining process; we have spearheaded statewide communications such as digital ads and a microsite that highlights how lagging educator pay contributes to the teacher shortage (which you can check out at supportmneducators.org).

Legislatively, we have called for an across-the-board salary increase for all teachers, raising the starting salary to $60,000 and establishing a minimum wage of $25/hour for all public school employees.

Because of the efforts of Education Minnesota members and allies to elect a pro-public education trifecta, the 2023 state budget included historic public education investments, such as 12 weeks of paid family leave and more funding for districts to increase educator pay. However, against Education Minnesota’s recommendation, much of that money was sent into district’s general funds instead of being specifically earmarked for educator pay increases, so many locals have had to negotiate for those funds at the bargaining table.

As we move forward into the 2024 election season, Education Minnesota members have the opportunity to continue building upon the legislative progress made in 2023 by supporting and working with leaders who recognize that educators are worth more and will take steps to increase educator pay.

*Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board 2023 Biennial Minnesota Teacher Supply and Demand Report, mn.gov/pelsb/board/reports

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