For Immediate Release
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Contact: Michael Van Beek
of Education Policy
Michael D. Jahr
Senior Director of Communications
MIDLAND — Recent data compiled by
the National Education Association shows that average salaries for Michigan
public school teachers from 2003 to 2009 outpaced those of teachers in all
other states when factoring in states' per capita personal income levels,
according to analysis by Mackinac Center Education Policy Director Michael Van
state's economic performance over the last decade, it's rather surprising that
average teacher salaries in Michigan continue to lead the nation," said Van
Beek. "With employee compensation consuming nearly 80 percent of most school
districts' operating budgets, education policymakers will have to consider
whether this continued disparity is justifiable."
Claims by the Michigan
Education Association, the largest school employee union in Michigan, that its
members have given up $1 billion in contract concessions over the last three
years is the latest school funding myth
analyzed by Van Beek in an ongoing series of commentaries on public school
funding. The first, explaining what the foundation allowance is and is not, can
be found here. The project can be
found at www.mackinac.org/schoolmyths.
Unadjusted 2009 teacher
salary averages vary greatly by state, with a high of $71,470 in New York and a
low of $35,136 in South Dakota. However, comparing states by these figures
fails to account for differences in overall state wealth, which impact the states'
ability to pay public school teacher salaries.
Per capita personal
income is a standard measure of the overall economic well-being of a state, and
controlling for this variable allows for a baseline comparison of average
teacher salaries between the states. When this is done, Michigan teachers come
out on top. In a 1996 report using this same method, the Citizen's Research
Council also found teachers in Michigan to be the highest paid from 1990 to
"School boards should
keep this in mind when they take on the tough task of balancing district
budgets," Van Beek added. "This evidence flies in the face of the prevailing
myth that public school teachers have made major salary concessions."