Student performace not tied to higher pay – new report

September 15, 2015

by Nick Novak

Originally published by The Washington Times.

Some of the highest paid teachers in the country reside in Los Angeles and New York City. It shouldn’t be a surprise that the two largest cities in the United States have high teacher pay, especially since the cost of living is also pretty high in each of these areas.

What may be surprising, however, is the city that has even higher pay than New York and L.A. According to a recent study from the John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy and the National Center for Policy Analysis, elementary teachers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, receive the highest pay among 60 major metropolitan areas in the U.S. (Disclosure: I am director of communications at MacIver.)

A simple look at elementary teacher pay cannot show a true comparison of how much teachers are actually able to purchase with their salary, though. To provide an apples-to-apples comparison, the report adjusted teachers’ pay for cost of living in each metro area. The results? Both Los Angeles and New York drop from second and third, respectively, to 17th and 59th out of 60.

But those teachers in Milwaukee hold onto the No. 1 spot. When adjusted, Milwaukee elementary teachers make $73,078 a year, down slightly from their nominal median salary of $74,540.

It is important to know that the study looked at median teacher salary in each city not including fringe benefits. Those benefits can add even more to teachers’ take-home pay. In fact, teachers in Milwaukee Public Schools received an average benefits package of $41,591 during the 2011-12 school year.

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