NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Report Claims Salaries Of U.S. Teachers Lag Other Nations

June 13, 2001

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is due to release a report today stating that, as a percentage of per capita income, teachers in the U.S. make less than their counterparts in most other industrialized countries.

  • The average salary of a U.S. teacher with 15 years of experience is 99 percent of average per capita income -- although in terms of actual salary, the U.S. is above the international average.
  • The average among OECD's 30 member countries is 136 percent of per capita income -- with South Korea heading the list at 250 percent.
  • The report also claims that total government spending on educational institutions in the U.S. slipped to 4.8 percent of gross domestic product in 1998, falling under the international average of 5 percent for the first time.
  • In addition, according to the report, the U.S. college graduation rate of 33 percent is for the first time not the world's highest -- having fallen below the rate in Finland, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Britain.

The U.S. is also producing fewer science and mathematics graduates than most of the other member states.

The report says a college degree produces a greater boost in income here -- while the lack of a high school diploma imposes a bigger income penalty.

Source: Jodi Wilgoren, "Education Study Finds U.S. Falling Short," New York Times, June 13, 2001.


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