Report shows Georgia public school teachers rank 20th nationwide

GEORGIA — Despite recent pay increases, teacher salaries in Georgia and elsewhere in the country have not kept pace with inflation over the past decade, according to a new report from the National Education Association.

Adjusted for inflation, public school teachers in grades K-12 earned 5 percent less than they did 10 years ago, the report said. The report is based on data from the 2022-23 school year and projected data for 2023-24.

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According to the report, the average starting salary for teachers in Georgia in 2022-23 was $41,148, ranking 39th in the country, while the average teacher salary was 20th at $64,461.

The average living wage in Georgia is $58,205, representing a wage gap of 72 cents in 2022–23.

In Georgia, educational support staff earned an average of $30,219 during the same period, ranking 36th.

Per-pupil spending in Georgia was $14,083 for the 2022-23 school year, ranking 31st in the nation.

The NEA found that low pay limited schools' ability to recruit and retain high-quality teachers and warned that a general shortage of teachers was looming amid declining morale across the profession.

Nationwide, recent pay raises for teachers are the largest increases in more than a decade. But overall, teachers are not paid enough and greater investment in public education is needed to maintain momentum, the national teachers union said.

Overall, the report showed:

  • The national average salary for public school teachers increased 4.1 percent from the previous year to $69,544 in 2022-23 and is expected to increase another 3.1 percent in 2023-24.
  • The national average starting salary for teachers was $44,530. At 3.9 percent, the increase in average starting salary was the largest in the 14 years that the NEA has tracked teacher salary benchmarks. However, adjusted for inflation, starting salaries for teachers are now $4,273 below 2008-09 levels.
  • An incredible 77 percent of U.S. school districts still pay a starting salary of less than $50,000 (28.6 percent of school districts start at less than $40,000), while only 16.6 percent of districts pay teachers salaries above $100,000.
  • The starting salary of teachers in states with collective bargaining laws is $1,653 higher than in states without collective bargaining laws.
  • In states with collective bargaining laws for educational support personnel, the top salary is $12,998 higher (average pay of $38,167). In states without a collective bargaining agreement, these individuals earn an average of $32,308.

Anna Harden

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