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					      Drawing Closer International Comparisons:
Measuring Teacher Salary against Labor Force Earnings


                               Jana Kemp
                             Kimberly Tahan

                  Education Statistics Services Institute
                    American Institutes for Research


       Paper to be presented at the 2011 Annual Conference of the
         Association of Education Finance and Policy (AEFP)

                                Seattle, WA
                               March 24, 2011




             Please do not quote without permission from the authors




                                                                       1
Abstract:


The publication Education at a Glance (EAG) produced by the Organization for Economic Cooperation
and Development (OECD) contains an indicator on teacher compensation, which compares economic
benefits of the teaching profession across their member countries. Within this indicator, a comparison is
drawn between teacher salaries and earnings of the general labor force with comparable educational
qualifications in each country. The competitiveness of teacher salaries compared to the earnings of
other professions may influence an individual’s decision to enter the field. As teacher salaries represent
the largest single cost in school education (OECD, 2010), the amount countries invest in teacher salaries
relative to other professions can also indicate the importance they place on education. Due to the
importance of these potential implications, it is vital to ensure the most accurate methods are used to
draw these comparisons.


Though the EAG indicator provides an initial look into these valuable comparisons, there are several
ways the methods used in EAG can be altered to draw more accurate and meaningful comparisons. This
paper presents options based on initial research for improving the methodology to compare teacher
salaries with earnings of the general labor force and uses U.S. data to illustrate how these different
approaches impact the results. The United States reports teacher salary data using the Schools and
Staffing Survey (SASS) to the OECD and provides data on the labor force from the Current Population
Survey (CPS). There are four main issues with how the data from these two sources are currently
compared in the EAG indicator. The time reference, source of income, education and qualifications and
age groupings are all areas which could be more closely aligned for a more precise comparison.




                                                                                                   2
                                       Introduction and background
Drawing comparisons of educational data across nations can be a challenging task considering the
variations of contexts and scope of data collected. International education comparisons often rely on
country reported data, using a variety of methodological approaches. Furthermore, the differences in
structures of various education systems can create challenges in drawing close comparisons across
multiple countries.


One area of interest in international educational comparisons is teacher compensation. How teachers
fare in the labor market can indicate how attractive the field of teaching is when compared with other
professions and may indicate how societies value the teaching profession in comparison to other fields.
One method of determining these potential implications is to compare the earnings of teachers with
those of the general labor force. The publication Education at a Glance (EAG), produced by the
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), contains an indicator on teacher
compensation, which compares economic benefits of the teaching profession across OECD member
countries. Within this indicator, a comparison is drawn between teacher salaries and earnings of general
labor force with comparable higher-education qualifications in each country.

There are several ways the methods used in Education at a Glance can be altered to draw more accurate
and meaningful comparisons. This paper presents options for improving the methodology to compare
teacher salaries with earnings of the general labor force and uses U.S. data to illustrate how these
different approaches impact the results. The United States reports teacher salary data using the Schools
and Staffing Survey (SASS), conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), to the
OECD and provides data on the labor force from the Current Population Survey (CPS). Our initial
exploration of this topic found that there are four main issues with how the data from these two sources
are currently compared in the EAG indicator. The time reference, source of income, education and
qualifications and age groupings are all areas which could be more closely aligned for a more accurate
comparison.


Before addressing the key areas for improvement with the current OECD indicator, it is important to
establish the reasoning behind drawing teacher salary and labor force comparisons. The following
section presents a summary of findings from research conducted on teacher salaries as a policy



                                                                                                   3
mechanism for maintaining a quality workforce and as an indicator of the value placed on education, the
attractiveness of the field, and the comparisons drawn between teacher salaries and labor force earnings.


Teacher compensation has been used as a policy incentive to develop a high-quality workforce. Studies
have presented findings indicating a positive relationship between teacher salaries and a school’s
abilities to recruit and retain teachers (Guarino et al, 2006). Moreover, in a study using self-reported
data from the Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) investigating reasons for voluntary teacher
attrition—low salary was the most frequently reported reason for leaving teaching (Ingersoll, 2001).
These findings indicate that salary is a key factor in teachers’ decisions to enter and stay in the
workforce and that districts may use salary as leverage in efforts to develop their desired workforce.


The relative competitiveness of teacher salaries factors into an individual’s decision to enter or remain in
the field. Salary may contribute or detract from the attractiveness of the profession against other
available occupations. Guarino, et al (2006) consolidated findings from multiple studies on the
opportunity costs of becoming a teacher; meaning when one chooses to become a teacher, they lose the
opportunity to experience the overall compensation of other professions. When it is perceived that the
opportunity costs outweigh the benefits gained by teaching, an individual is less likely to choose
teaching as a career. Placing teacher salaries in the context of opportunity costs requires comparing them
against other professions requiring similar qualifications. A study citing the Bacchalaureate and Beyond
Survey, conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) indicated teacher salaries of
new college graduates are considerably lower than those of new graduates in other professions (Ingersoll
and Perda, 2008). Ingersoll and Perda (2008) cite data in their research from the Bureau of Labor
Statistics (BLS) which show that these differences remain throughout the career span (National
Occupation and Wage Estimates, BLS, 2005). With qualifications being equivalent, comparing teacher
salaries with the earnings of other professions indicates compensation for teaching is less attractive than
in other fields.


The relationship between teacher salaries and comparable labor force earnings has been known to
correlate with student outcomes, such as retention. Loeb and Page (2000) found that high school
dropout rates declined and college attendance rates increased in states that increased their teaching
wages relative to the wages of college-educated women in other occupations, suggesting that raising



                                                                                                      4
relative salaries for teachers may promote teaching quality as measured through student outcomes.
Measuring the relationship between teacher salaries and earnings of the labor force may reveal where
opportunities to increase a competitive and effective teacher workforce may exist.


Research comparing teacher salaries with labor force earnings, within and outside the United States,
often makes adjustments to the comparison groups as a direct comparison of base salary alone is
problematic. For example, in a study of Latin American teacher salaries conducted by the World Bank
(Liang, 2000) the hourly wages of teachers were compared to the hourly wages of those in the general
labor force to account for the fact that teachers are typically contracted for fewer hours weekly than
workers in other professions. In researching teacher salary comparability in South Africa, Gustafson and
Patel (2008) compared conditional wage differentials taking into consideration years of experience,
years of education, working hours, sex, and race. Emphasis in this study was placed on considerations
specific to the country, for example race in South Africa was a key consideration which may or may not
show the same level of variance in other countries. Drawing straight comparisons of teacher salaries
and labor force earnings of those with postsecondary attainment are not as frequently made when
looking at the context of one country, as the kinds of adjustments described above can be made. When
making this comparison across multiple countries, adjustments in how to compare each group’s data are
more challenging as each teaching force may operate in different ways than other professions—but these
differences are not necessarily uniform across countries.


International comparisons within Education at a Glance show teacher salaries represent the largest
single expenditure in education (OECD, 2010), and when compared across jurisdictions can indicate the
value placed on teaching in various locales. The extent of research focusing on comparing teacher
salaries with labor force earnings is somewhat limited. Most research comparing these groups are
limited to a specific country and our review of the literature indicates that the indicator in Education at a
Glance is comparatively quite extensive in the amount of countries’ data displayed. Education at a
Glance faces the same challenges as are prevalent in most of the literature discussed and has an added
challenge of creating a comparison that uses the most equivalent measures across countries.




                                                                                                    5
                                     EAG comparison group issues
There are four main issues in the methodology used in the EAG comparison of teachers with 15 years of
experience to earnings of full-time full-year workers ages 25–64 in the general labor force; we seek to
improve this methodology in our revised analyses. The time reference, source of income, education and
qualifications and age groupings are all areas which could be more closely aligned for a more accurate
comparison. The specific inconsistencies are discussing in the following section.


The first difficulty with the EAG methodology is the difference in the reference period for each type of
earnings compared. The EAG measure of base teacher salary is determined by the length of the school
year, while the comparison group of full-time full-year workers is based on the earnings of individuals
for an entire calendar year. By not taking into account potential earnings in the summer months, teacher
earnings are most likely underestimated.


The second difficulty with the current EAG comparison is related to the source of income. In the EAG
indicator, teacher salaries are considered the base statutory compensation; this does not include any
supplemental pay from additional sources such as merit pay, state supplements, additional duties or
extracurricular positions. Furthermore, teacher salaries do not incorporate earnings from any jobs
outside of the school district throughout the year or during the summer months. These teacher salaries
are currently compared with the overall annual earnings of the general population aged 25–64 with a
post-secondary education. This population may potentially be reporting earnings from multiple sources.


Another issue in the comparison lies in the measures of education and qualifications among the two
groups used for the EAG comparison. The teacher comparison group is comprised of teachers with
minimum qualifications after 15 years of experience. The full-time, full-year workers comparison group
is made up of those workers with postsecondary education – meaning those who have attained an
Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s degree, Master’s or First-professional degree, and/or a Doctoral degree.
Minimum qualifications for a teacher as reported for the United States would be a Bachelor’s degree,
and those teachers who have achieved above the minimum qualifications for their country would not be
captured in the base salary estimate used in the EAG comparison. In contrast, the full-time, full-year
worker group includes workers who may have gone on to increase their qualifications and includes those
who have gotten their Master’s or Doctoral degrees, advanced qualifications which would typically



                                                                                                 6
relate to increased salary. There is also a discrepancy in the age ranges used for each reporting group.
The full-time, full-year worker group is limited to workers ages 25 to 64 and while there are no specific
age restrictions on the teacher group, the caveat of 15 years experience would suggest that this group
does not include many teachers below the age of 35.

        Current EAG comparison
        Variable                                     Teachers                         Labor force
        Time reference                   9 month school year              12 month calendar year

        Source of income                          Base salary                       Total earnings
                                                                        Postsecondary education
                                                                        (Associate's, Bachelor's,
        Education/                   Minimum qualifications        Master's, First-professional, or
        Qualifications                   (Bachelor's degree)                     Doctoral degree)
                                   No specific age; caveat of
                                  15 years experience would
                                    likely excluded teachers
        Age grouping                     below the age of 35                          25-64 years
                                        Schools and Staffing           Current Population Survey
        Data source                         Survey (SASS)                                  (CPS)

Considering the outlined issues, the implications of the current EAG indicator are arguably skewed.
Using the same data sets, our research sought to improve the methodologies used to make this
comparison in order to increase the accuracy of the comparison.


                                      Methodology and data sources
This analysis draws a comparison of teacher income data from the Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS)
and labor force earnings data from The Current Population Survey (CPS) Annual Social and Economic
(ASEC) Supplement, also known as the March CPS Supplement. By using U.S. data as a model, other
countries may be able to produce closer alignments between their teacher salary data and labor force
earnings.


The SASS is a large sample survey of America's elementary and secondary schools. To ensure that the
samples contain sufficient numbers for estimates, SASS uses a stratified probability sample design.
Public and private schools are oversampled into groups based on certain characteristics. After the


                                                                                                  7
schools are stratified and sampled, the teachers within the schools are stratified and sampled based on
their characteristics. Teachers associated with selected schools were sampled from a teacher list
provided by each school. The 2007–08 SASS selected 47,440 public school teachers, 750 Bureau of
Indian Education (BIE) teachers, and 8,180 private school teachers. The SASS survey contains a series
of questions on teachers’ income from school and non-school jobs.


The CPS is a monthly survey of about 60,000 households from the 50 states and the District of
Columbia. It is conducted by the Census Bureau, which is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, for
the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The CPS sample is scientifically selected to represent the civilian,
noninstitutional U.S. population. This includes the household population, people living in
noninstitutional group quarters, and members of the military living off post or with their families on
post. Interviewers ask a knowledgeable adult household member to answer all of the month’s
questionnaires for all members of the household. Respondents are interviewed to obtain information
about the employment status of each member of the household age 15 or older. However, published data
focus on those ages 16 and over. Respondents can report that they were employed (either full or part
time), unemployed (looking for work or on layoff), or not in the labor force (due to being retired, having
unpaid employment, or some other reason). The March CPS asks respondents to report incomes for
household members over the course of the previous calendar year.


Using SASS 2007–08 data, we merged public school and private school teacher files and restricted our
analysis to look at all full-time teachers, and further broke out the teachers by male and female. We
chose to limit our population to only teachers 25–64 in order to match the age range that labor force
earnings data are usually reported under. The SASS survey includes a series of questions which asked
teachers to report the highest level of education which they had attained. For the purpose of our analysis
we collapsed these variables into 5 categories: No degree; Associate’s degree; Bachelor’s degree;
Master’s degree, Educational Specialist or Certificate of Advanced Study (CAGS); and First-
professional or Doctoral degree. For our comparison, we used only the latter four degree categories,
based on the fact that it would be highly unusual for a teacher to hold less than an Associate’s degree,
due to professional requirements for teachers in the United States. Due to the SASS survey design, we
could not break out First-professional and Doctoral degrees, though we recognize that this would
provide an additional level of analysis which could be more accurate.



                                                                                                    8
Our ―actual earnings‖ estimates were comprised of 7 questions about income in the SASS survey:
teacher annual base salary; teacher’s additional income from the school for activities such as teaching
summer school; income from holding a non-teaching job at school during the summer; earnings from
extracurricular activities, merit or bonus pay; income from non-school jobs during the school year; and
income from non-school jobs during the summer. This differs from the EAG teacher salary measure by
including income from sources beyond the base teacher salary. We believe this provides a more accurate
comparison because it takes in account all income a teacher makes during a 12-month period, the same
way labor force earnings data take into account earnings from all jobs a worker holds throughout a
calendar year including supplemental income from part-time jobs.


We examined the new actual earnings variable by median salary, rather than average salary, because
using the median eliminates extreme outliers which may skew the data. Since the most recent data
collection for SASS took place in 2007–08, we chose to inflate the teacher income data to 2008-2009
constant dollars using the Consumer Price Index (CPI) so that these data would more closely align with
the CPS labor force earning data, which was reported in 2009 dollars.


Using the CPS March 2010 Annual Economic Supplement (ASEC) we created a comparable group of
labor force workers to align with our SASS teachers. First we restricted our analysis to full-time, full-
year workers, and then broke the population out by male and female. The labor force earnings data
presented in the EAG only break out median earnings by two levels the first which equates to a
vocational Associate’s degree in the United States and the second which corresponds to academic
Associate’s degrees, Bachelor’s degrees, Master’s degrees, First-professional degrees, and Doctoral
degrees. We chose to break these data out in the same way as the SASS teacher educational attainment
data and to examine both the average and median labor force earnings. This involved recoding the CPS
educational attainment variable (―COMP‖) into 5 categories: No Degree; Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s
degree; Masters Degree; and First-professional/Doctoral degree. The educational attainment section of
the CPS March Supplement did not allow the option of selecting ―Education Specialist or CAGS‖, so, in
this way, our educational attainment breakouts may not align exactly with the SASS teacher educational
attainment data, but this was the closest alignment we were able to provide given the survey designs.




                                                                                                   9
        Revised comparison
        Variable                                             Teachers                Labor force
                                   12 month period (9 month school
        Time reference                   year and summer months)          12 month calendar year

                                       Actual teacher earnings (Base
                                    salary; additional school income
                                      for summer teaching and non-
                                        teaching jobs; earnings from
                                   extracurricular activities, merit or
                                       bonus pay; income from non-
                                  school jobs during the school year
        Source of income                                and summer)              Total earnings
                                                                           Education breakouts:
                                   Education breakouts: Associate’s         Associate’s degree;
                                        degree; Bachelor’s degree;           Bachelor’s degree;
                                    Master’s Degree (Ed Specialist         Master’s Degree; and
        Education/                           and CAGS); and First-           First-professional/
        Qualifications                professional/Doctoral degree             Doctoral degree
        Age grouping                                      25-64 years                25-64 years
                                        Schools and Staffing Survey           Current Population
        Data source                                         (SASS)                 Survey (CPS)

In addition to recoding the SASS teacher income data and the CPS labor force earnings data to our new
measures, we also ran an analysis of the teacher data using the base teacher salary measure to provide a
comparison of our revised ―actual teacher earnings‖ to teacher salary data which are typically presented
for the United States in the EAG. We did this in order to demonstrate the differences in making earnings
comparisons to labor force earnings data using the original base teacher salary measure versus our newly
created actual earnings measure. This involved breaking out base teacher salary by our revised
educational attainment and age breakouts.


Base salaries and ―actual teacher earnings‖ were compared using simple t-tests to look at differences in
these two estimates, and we also show the differences between these two estimates in percent change
and the amount of change in dollars. Our study presents the percent change and dollar differences of




                                                                                                   10
both teacher base salary and ―actual teacher earnings‖ as compared to labor force earnings at each of the
attainment levels and age categories.


                                                Limitations
This analysis has several limitations. The first of which, is that we chose to breakout the data by
educational attainment level for both teachers and the labor force data. Another option would have been
to show the differences in years of experience for each comparison group. Teacher salaries are
determined by a salary schedule set at the district level, which increase with qualification level and years
of experience. Often teacher salary comparisons use years of experience to breakout the data. Due to the
use of labor force data, this analysis uses qualification level instead to distinguish between those with
lower and higher skill sets. It is not beneficial to compare the earnings of teachers with 15 years of
experience, who most likely possess a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, with those of 15 years of
experience at an Associate’s level.


This analysis uses SASS data for the United States as a whole. Geographic breakouts are not provided,
though salaries may vary greatly between different locales. For the purposes of developing an example
of United States data for international comparisons, we chose to maintain national data.


This analysis can not be extrapolated for other countries’ data. The example of using the United States
is to demonstrate how a closer comparison can be drawn by considering the specific comparison groups.
For the United States, teacher salary schedules do not account for all school-related earnings for
teachers. In other countries, this may not be the case and base or statutory teacher salaries may be all
inclusive. Furthermore, teachers in the United States generally operate on a 9-month contract which is
reflected in their base pay. Teachers in other countries may work throughout the year making their data
more comparable to general labor force earnings already. Lastly, minimum teacher qualifications may
appear differently in various contexts. For the United States, Bachelor’s degrees signify minimum
educational qualifications; however, it is possible other countries have differing basic qualifications and
context should be considered in drawing comparisons.


Further analysis could be conducted to break out teacher salaries and labor force data by years of
experience and qualification level. The labor force surveys in some countries may lend themselves



                                                                                                  11
better than others to these smaller cross-sections. Depending on the survey design of the labor force
survey, more direct comparisons can be complicated.


                                              Key Findings
Four key findings resulted from our analysis of comparing base teacher salaries with the ―actual teacher
earnings‖ and by comparing the ―actual teacher earnings‖ to the labor force population of full-time
workers ages 25–64. These findings show trends related to educational attainment and sex. As indicated
in the methodology portion, the data discussed below reflects the median teacher salaries and ―actual
teacher earnings‖ for the population of teachers aged 25–64 to be comparable to the average and median
labor force earnings.


Both average and median labor force earnings are presented to show the potential differences of altering
this methodology. The median earnings exclude many of the outliers, which factor into the average
earnings. As the data indicate below, these two comparison groups show similar trends, but the gaps for
average labor force earnings and teacher salaries and earnings are greater than when the median is used.


       1. The gaps between ―actual teacher earnings‖ and labor force earnings at all levels of
           educational attainment are smaller in dollar amounts than the differences between
           base teacher salaries and labor force earnings. As expected, based on the SASS
           variables used to compile our data, the average ―actual teacher earnings‖ included
           more sources of income than basic salary data—leading to higher estimates than base
           salary alone. The extent to which ―actual earnings‖ were greater than base teacher
           salaries varies at each educational attainmentlevel. For those with Associate’s
           degrees, ―actual teacher earnings‖ were 20 percent higher than base salaries,
           compared to the difference seen at the Bachelor’s degree level and the Master’s
           degree level, which were both 7 percent higher. For teachers with Doctorates and
           First-professional degrees, the ―actual teacher earnings‖ calculated are 16 percent
           higher than the base teacher salaries for all teachers at that level. This finding shows
           the greatest increases at the lowest and highest levels of educational attainment. The
           median salaries for teachers with Bachelor’s degrees, the level at which most teachers
           enter the teaching profession, had the most modest earnings increase of all education



                                                                                                 12
    levels when including supplemental payments. Teachers with Master’s degrees also
    saw similar differences between the base salaries and ―actual teacher earnings‖.
    When compared with the earnings of the general labor force, the higher amounts of
    ―actual teacher earnings‖ lessens the gap between what teachers earn and the earnings
    of full-time workers, than what is currently reported in EAG.

Figure 1. Teacher base salary and teacher "actual earnings", by educational attainment: School year
2007–08
 Dolla rs
  $80,000

   $70,000

   $60,000
   $50,000

   $40,000

   $30,000

   $20,000

   $10,000

         $0
              A s s oc iate's       B ac helor's             Mas ter's             Doc toral/
                  degree               degree                 degree                 F irs t-
                                                                                 profes s ional
                                B as e S alary     A c tual Teac her E arnings      degree




2. The difference between labor force earnings and ―actual teacher earnings‖ increases
    with educational attainment. This is also true for comparing base salaries and median
    labor force earnings. At the Associate’s level, the median ―actual teacher earnings‖
    were $1,011 less than average labor force earnings for full-time workers compared
    with $23, 647 at the Bachelor’s level, $30, 819 at the Master’s level, and $71, 371 at
    the Doctoral level. In the case of Associate’s degrees, ―actual teacher earnings‖ were
    $6,133 more than the median earnings of the labor force. The differences between
    ―actual teacher earnings‖ and median labor force earnings at the Bachelor’s level was
    $8,579, at the Master’s level $13,734, and at the Doctoral level was $33,017. These
    incremental differences show ―actual teacher earnings‖ to be most different from the
    earnings of the general labor force at the highest educational attainmentlevels.


                                                                                                      13
Figure 2. Teacher base salary, "actual teacher earnings", and median labor force earnings, by
educational attainment: School year 2007–08


     Dolla rs
     $120,000

     $100,000

      $80,000

      $60,000

      $40,000

      $20,000

          $0
                A s s oc iate's      B ac helor's       Mas ter's          Doc toral/     A s s oc iate's    B ac helor's    Mas ter's          Doc toral/
                    degree              degree           degree              F irs t-         degree            degree        degree              F irs t-
                                                                         profes s ional                                                       profes s ional
                                                                            degree                                                               degree

                            B as e S alary      Median L abor F orc e E arnings                A c tual Teac her E arnings   Median L abor F orc e E arnings




3. While ―actual teacher earnings‖ were higher than base teacher salaries for teachers
    overall at all levels of educational attainment, there were no measurable differences
    between base teacher salaries and the ―actual teacher earnings‖ for male or female
    teachers with an Associate’s degree or a Doctoral/First-professional degree. For the
    Bachelor’s and Master’s degree attainment levels, male teachers earned more in
    supplemental earnings than female teachers. At these attainment levels, male teachers
    saw increases at least twice the percentage of the increases in earnings that female
    teachers gained ―actual teacher earnings.‖ Male teacher ―actual earnings‖ with
    Bachelor’s degrees were 13 percent greater than reported base teacher salaries at the
    same attainment level, while female teacher actual earnings were 6 percent more than
    their base salaries. Male teachers with Master’s degrees had actual earnings 12
    percent higher than reported base salaries, while female teachers’ actual earnings
    were only 5 percent greater than their reported base salaries.




                                                                                                                                                        14
Figure 3. Teacher base salary and "actual teacher earnings", by sex and educational attainment: School
year 2007–08
                                Ma le s                                                              F e m a le s
Dolla rs
 $80,000

 $70,000

 $60,000

 $50,000

 $40,000

 $30,000

 $20,000

 $10,000

      $0
       A s s oc iate's   B ac helor's     Mas ter's       Doc toral/      A s s oc iate's   B ac helor's     Mas ter's    Doc toral/
           degree           degree         degree            F irs t-         degree           degree         degree         F irs t-
                                                         profes s ional                                                  profes s ional
                                                            degree                                                          degree

                                              B as e S alary                  A c tual Teac her E arnings




4. The differences between base salary and ―actual teacher earnings‖ by attainment and
    sex described in finding 3 impact the comparison of the respective gaps between base
    salary and labor force earnings and the difference between ―actual teacher earnings‖
    and labor force earnings. At the Associate’s level, the gap in dollar amounts between
    base salary and average earnings of full-time workers are greater for male teachers
    than for female teachers. The gap between ―actual teacher earnings‖ and average
    labor force earnings is greater for female teachers than for male teachers. Similarly
    the same patterns in gaps by sex appear with using median labor force earnings
    instead of average labor force earnings.


    At all other attainment levels, the gaps between base salaries and labor force earnings
    and ―actual earnings‖ than labor force earnings are greater for male teachers than for
    female teachers. Those with a Bachelor’s degree and the average earnings of full-
    time workers with the same qualifications was $32,112, approximately $21, 383
    greater than the gap between these two groups for female teachers. The gap between



                                                                                                                                          15
the actual earnings of male teachers with a Bachelor’s degree and the median
earnings of full-time workers with the same qualifications was $14,229,
approximately $13,332 greater than the gap between these two groups for female
teachers. At the Master’s level, the gap between ―actual teacher earnings‖ and
average earnings of full-time workers for male teachers was $25,522 higher than that
of female teachers. The median labor force earnings for males with Masters degrees
is $19,794 higher than the median ―actual earnings‖ for male teachers with the same
qualifications. The greatest differences between male and female teachers in
comparing ―actual teacher earnings‖ with the average earnings of full-time workers is
at the Doctoral/First-professional degree level with male teachers earning
approximately $84,861 less than full-time workers, on average. The gap between
―actual teacher earnings‖ for female teachers with Doctoral/ First Professional
degrees is $43,872, a difference of $40,989 from the male gap. The median labor
force earnings show a more modest difference, male teachers earn $41,115 less than
their labor force counterparts, while female teachers earn only $13,612 less than labor
force counterparts. Similarly, the same patterns in gaps seen for ―actual earnings‖
and labor force data are true for the differences between base salaries and labor force
data above the Associate’s level.




                                                                                      16
       Figure 4. "Actual teacher earnings" and median labor force earnings, by sex and educational
       attainment: School year 2007–08
                                        Ma le s                                                             F e m a le s
        Dolla rs
        $120,000

        $100,000

         $80,000


         $60,000

         $40,000


         $20,000

               $0
                A s s oc iate's   B ac helor's    Mas ter's       Doc toral/      A s s oc iate's   B ac helor's     Mas ter's    Doc toral/
                    degree           degree        degree           F irs t-          degree           degree         degree         F irs t-
                                                                profes s ional                                                   profes s ional
                                                                   degree                                                           degree

                                                  A c tual Teac her E arnings    Median L abor F orc e E arnings




                                                  Potential implications of key findings
When drawing comparisons between ―actual teacher earnings‖ and the earnings of full-time workers of
the same qualification level and age range, the gap is smaller than comparing base teacher salaries to this
labor force group. If the competitiveness of the teaching profession is related to the potential earnings
against the opportunity costs of choosing other professions, then considering the overall compensation
of teachers throughout the year is a better comparison than looking at base contractual earnings alone.
Many teachers take advantage of the opportunities to gain further earnings through coaching, teaching
summer school, taking on additional duties, or through merit pay programs, or supplement their teaching
salaries with income from non-school sources during the school year or summer months. All of these
additional sources of income contribute to the financial benefit of being a teacher. The first finding
indicates these additional sources of income bring teacher compensation closer to the levels seen for
full-time workers in the general labor force.


Actual teacher earnings may be more competitive at different stages of educational attainment than at
others. The second finding shows ―actual teacher earnings‖ to be closest to potential earnings of full-


                                                                                                                                                  17
time workers at the Associate’s level and furthest from potential earnings at the Doctoral/First-
professional level. This may be a deterrent for those with advanced degrees to pursue the teaching
profession.


Actual earnings for female teachers may be more competitive than for male teachers, despite the actual
earnings of male teachers being greater. At the Bachelor’s and Master’s degree levels, the differences
between base teacher salaries and ―actual teacher earnings‖ were greater for male teachers than for
female teachers. The third finding implies that male teachers at these educational attainment levels may
be able to take greater advantage of opportunities to earn supplemental payments. Despite male teachers
increasing their income through supplemental payments at a higher rate than their female peers, the
differences between their actual earnings and the earnings of their counterparts in the labor force are
much greater than females. The fourth finding shows the divide between ―actual teacher earnings‖ and
potential earnings in the labor force to be greater for male teachers than for female teachers.


                                  Further research and recommendations
These findings introduce more questions for how to draw closer comparisons when comparing multiple
countries. For the purposes of the indicator seen in Education at a Glance, other countries may benefit
from revising the data reported for teacher salaries to reflect actual earnings. How this may be most
appropriately done depends largely on country context and teacher working conditions. The data used in
this paper provide an example of how the United States data could be revised, but does not provide a
common standard for other countries to follow. Continuing research should be conducted to review the
specific conditions of other countries in an effort to develop similar closer comparisons. This further
research could enable the OECD to provide guidance to countries on how to report teacher earnings data
most comparable to labor force earnings.


It is our recommendation that when drawing comparisons between teacher salaries and labor force
earnings that comparison groups maintain similar reference periods, age groupings, and levels of
qualification and that earnings are measured using median rather than average calculations.
Additionally, if supplemental payments are typically earned by teachers, as was the case with the United
States, those additional earnings should factor into comparisons.




                                                                                                    18
                                        Citations

Guarino, C.M, Santibanez, L. and Daley, G. (2006). Teacher Recruitment and Retention:
A Review of the Recent Empirical Literature. Review of Educational Research, Summer
76(2) 173-208.

Gustafson, M. and Patel, F. (2006). Managing the teacher pay system: what the local and
international data are telling us. A Working paper of the department of economics and
the bureau for economic research at the University of Stellenbosch, 26/06.

Ingersoll, R.M. (2001) Teacher Turnover and Teacher Shortages: An Organizational
Analysis. American Educational Research Journal, 38(3) 499-534.

Ingersoll, R.M and Perda, D. (2008). The Status of Teaching as a Profession. Chapter 12,
pp 106-118 in Schools and Society: a Sociological Approach to Education. Edited by
Jeanne Ballantine and Joan Spade. Los Angeles: Pine Forge Press.

Liang, X (2000). Teacher Pay in 12 Latin American Countries: How does teacher pay
compare to other professions? What determines Teacher Pay? Who are the Teachers?.
The World Bank, Human Development Department LCSHD Paper Series No. 49

Loeb, S., and Page, M. (2000). Examining the link between teacher wages and student
outcomes: The importance of alternative labor market opportunities and non-pecuniary
variation. Review of Economics and Statistics, 82(3), 393–408.


OECD (2010), Education at a Glance 2010, OECD Publishing, 390-406.




                                                                                        19
Appendix A: Supplemental Tables

 Table 1. Differences between Base Teacher Salaries and Actual
 Teacher Earnings
 Education Attained and                       Actual Teacher      Percentage
 Sex                         Base Salary      Earnings            Change

 Associates Degree
 Total                        $   40,237       $    48,133                20%
 Male                         $   42,684       $    48,639                14%
 Female                       $   30,690       $    34,835                14%

 Bachelors
 Total                        $   42,585       $    45,421                 7%
 Male                         $   43,089       $    48,771                13%
 Female                       $   41,572       $    44,104                 6%

 Masters/Education
 Specialist/CAGS
 Total                        $   52,725       $    56,265                 7%
 Male                         $   53,738       $    60,206                12%
 Female                       $   52,725       $    55,272                 5%

 Doctoral/ First
 Professional
 Total                       $ 57,682         $ 66,982                   16%
 Male                        $ 57,594         $ 67,884                   18%
 Female                      $ 60,371         $ 65,820                     9%
Sources: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Schools and Staffing
Survey (SASS), 2007-08; and U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, March Supplement 2010




                                                                                                        20
 Table 2. Comparison of base teacher salaries, actual teacher earnings and average labor
 force earnings, by education attainment
                                                                    Difference   Difference
                                                                   between      between
                                                                   Average      Average
                                                                   Labor        Labor Force
                                                                   Force        Earnings
 Education                           Actual         Average        Earnings     and Actual
 Attained and                        Teacher        Labor Force and Base        Teacher
 Sex                  Base Salary Earnings          Earnings       Salary       Earnings

 Associates
 Degree
 Total                  $   40,237       $   48,133      $    49,145     $    8,908     $     1,011
 Male                   $   42,684       $   48,639      $    56,019     $   13,335     $     7,380
 Female                 $   30,690       $   34,835      $    42,390     $   11,699     $     7,555

 Bachelors
 Total                  $   42,585       $   45,421      $    69,068     $   26,483     $    23,647
 Male                   $   43,089       $   48,771      $    80,882     $   37,794     $    32,112
 Female                 $   41,572       $   44,104      $    54,832     $   13,260     $    10,728

 Masters/Education
 Specialist/CAGS
 Total                  $   52,725       $   56,265      $ 87,084        $   34,359     $    30,819
 Male                   $   53,738       $   60,206      $ 101,821       $   48,083     $    41,615
 Female                 $   52,725       $   55,272      $ 71,365        $   18,640     $    16,093

 Doctoral/ First
 Professional
 Total                 $ 57,682         $ 66,982         $ 138,354        $ 80,672        $ 71,371
 Male                  $ 57,594         $ 67,884         $ 152,745        $ 95,152        $ 84,861
 Female                $ 60,371         $ 65,820         $ 109,692        $ 49,321        $ 43,872
Sources: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Schools and Staffing
Survey (SASS), 2007-08; and U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, March Supplement 2010




                                                                                                        21
 Table 3. Comparison of base teacher salaries, actual teacher earnings and median labor force
 earnings, by education attainment
                                                                                 Difference
                                                                    Difference   between
                                                                   between       Median Labor
                                                                   Median        Force
                                                                   Labor Force Earnings and
                                   Actual            Median        Earnings      Actual
 Education Attained    Base        Teacher          Labor Force and Base         Teacher
 and Sex               Salary      Earnings         Earnings       Salary        Earnings

 Associates Degree
 Total                    $   40,237     $    48,133     $    42,000      $      1,763    $       (6,133)
 Male                     $   42,684     $    48,639     $    50,000      $      7,316    $        1,361
 Female                   $   30,690     $    34,835     $    37,000      $      6,310    $        2,165

 Bachelors
 Total                    $   42,585     $    45,421     $    54,000      $    11,415     $       8,579
 Male                     $   43,089     $    48,771     $    63,000      $    19,911     $      14,229
 Female                   $   41,572     $    44,104     $    45,000      $     3,428     $         896

 Masters/Education
 Specialist/CAGS
 Total                    $   52,725     $    56,265     $    70,000      $    17,275     $      13,735
 Male                     $   53,738     $    60,206     $    80,000      $    26,262     $      19,794
 Female                   $   52,725     $    55,272     $    60,000      $     7,275     $       4,728

 Doctoral/ First
 Professional
 Total                   $ 57,682       $ 66,982         $ 100,000        $      42,318 $          33,018
 Male                    $ 57,594       $ 67,884         $ 109,000        $      51,406 $          41,116
 Female                  $ 60,371       $ 65,820         $ 79,432         $      19,061 $          13,612
Sources: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Schools and Staffing
Survey (SASS), 2007-08; and U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, March Supplement 2010




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