Arizona teachers always complain they are underpaid. A national study
released Wednesday shows they may have a point.
Public school teachers make about 81 cents for every dollar earned by
Arizona residents in comparable careers, such as accountants, computer
programmers, and nurses. It's not as if teachers anywhere are raking in the
cash, but the state lags far behind the national average: 88 cents to every
Teacher salaries have been rising slowly in
Arizona, with an average teacher pay of $42,967, about $4,800 less
than the national average.
When it comes to training and rewarding its K-12 teachers, a leading
annual study titled "Quality Counts 2008" gave
Arizona a D+ and ranked it 40th out of 50 states and the
District of Columbia.
Arizona has fallen behind about half the states by not funding a
statewide mentoring program for all new teachers and not requiring schools
to limit the number of elementary students in one class.
The state is beginning to track the qualifications and experience of
teachers in low-income schools, where children need highly-skilled teachers
to keep up with their wealthier peers. But the state isn't yet providing
incentives to help these schools attract and retain the best teachers, the
In other benchmarks,
Arizona also fell well below the national average for funding its
schools, but outpaced most other states in implementing its statewide
grade-by-grade learning goals and keeping schools accountable for student
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