NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Competition Raises Teachers' Pay

May 10, 1999

Competition to attract the best teachers available has led Arizona's charter schools to offer salaries higher than those available to teachers in the state's public schools.

According to a study published by the Goldwater Institute:

  • Salaries for newly-hired teachers in Arizona's public schools vary over $8,000 -- depending on years of teaching experience and the number of credits beyond a bachelor's degree.
  • In contrast, salaries for newly-hired teachers in the state's charter schools vary over a range of about $21,000 -- depending on a wider set of criteria
  • Most charters there set their salary schedules 5 percent higher than public schools -- with merit pay and pay for special skills bringing that to an average of 6 percent higher.
  • A survey of a majority of Arizona's charter schools found that 16 percent give bonuses to teachers whose students perform at a certain level on test scores or record a gain in scores.

A forthcoming study from Richard Vedder at Ohio University demonstrates that public school teachers in areas with a high proportion of private schools make more than their counterparts in areas with low concentrations of private schools.

This suggests that competition for the services of talented teachers forces public schools to offer more, rather than lose those teachers to private schools.

Teachers unions often use the argument that market forces will hurt public schools. But the figures show that competition benefits competent public school teachers as well.

Source: Merrill Matthews Jr. (National Center for Policy Analysis), "A Better Way to Raise Teachers' Salaries," Investor's Business Daily, May 10, 1999.


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