NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


August 29, 2005

Fort Worth, Texas educators were surprised to learn that secondary public school teachers in the area rank 4th in pay among major metropolitan areas nationwide, say observers. A new analysis of teacher pay by the National Center for Policy Analysis, shows that adjusted for the local cost of living, teachers in some areas with above average pay are less well off than they might think -- while others are better off.

The NCPA analysis suggests that comparing teacher pay to the national average "might not be the best comparison," according to Senior Policy Analyst Matt Moore.

  • A starting teacher in Fort Worth earns $38,500, according to a salary survey by the United Educators Association (UEA) of Texas; one Fort Worth teacher with more than five years experience earns more than $43,000 -- close to the overall average for Fort Worth teachers.
  • The average public school teacher in the Fort Worth metropolitan area earns $42,340, according to the UEA.
  • Adjusted for the local cost of living, the average Fort Worth secondary school teacher earns the equivalent of $52,126, according to the NCPA analysis, catapulting teacher pay to 4th place nationwide.
  • Fort Worth and other area school districts plan to raise teacher pay across-the-board by 2 to 3 percent, or $1,000 to $1,500 this fall.
  • The National Education Association is pushing for a nationwide typical starting salary of $40,000 for all teachers.

While local school superintendents suggest that salary competition between local districts is what drives teacher salaries, Larry Shaw, head of the UEA union, says "Teachers will never be paid what they are worth, and they are not being paid now what they need."

Source: Amie Streater, "Salary Rankings Watched Closely by Districts," Fort Worth Star-Telegram, August 28, 2005; and "For Teachers, Cost of Living Matters More Than Base Pay," National Center for Policy Analysis, August 15, 2005.


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