Teachers will always play an important and integral part in education. Consequently, it is important to understand issues that impact teachers so that a high-quality and effective teaching corps can be maintained. At the same time, it is critically important to separate fact from fiction when it comes to issues that impact teachers.

Teacher pay is always an area of great contention. Teacher unions and other groups maintain that teachers are not paid enough. Others look more comprehensively at total compensation and note that benefits granted to teachers are relatively generous, and that teachers work fewer hours, on average, each year than other professions.

1889's Papers on Teachers

"Average Teacher Pay Across States Before and After Oklahoma's Pay Raise" is just a table showing average teacher pay across the states and relative state rankings, especially of Oklahoma, before and after the $6,100 pay raise approved by the Oklahoma legislature in the spring of 2018.

"Teacher Pay Raise in a Nutshell" is a single-page summary of relevant information from several of the 1889 Institute’s publications regarding teacher pay, the state’s teacher shortage, and school funding. We suggest that if a statewide teacher pay raise is enacted, the legislature should require that new funds for a teacher pay raise be distributed according to merit as determined by the local school district, and distributed transparently, explicitly naming teachers and the amount of their raises, so citizens can confirm raises were merit-based.

"Raising Teacher Pay: Things to Consider and Do" by Byron Schlomach and Baylee Butler looks at the costs of increasing Oklahoma's average teacher pay and how different raises will affect Oklahoma's position compared to other states. It recommends that if the state funds a teacher pay raise, that it be done through block-granting with transparency regarding who gets raises. Finally, it points out that districts have sufficient resources to provide for substantial raises. Summary

"Teacher Pay: Facts to Consider" by Baylee Butler and Byron Schlomach breaks down facts about Oklahoma's average teacher salary, considers how benefits might change generally-accepted teacher pay comparisons across states, cost of living, and inflation adjustments. Historical comparisons are also made, along with a discussion of facts regarding comparisons with other professions so that information on the issue is as full and accurate as possible. Summary

"Oklahoma’s Teacher Pay: 30th, Not 48th" by Byron Schlomach compares average teacher pay and average beginning teacher for each state, adjusting each state's average for cost of living. Oklahoma's average teacher pay ranks 30th among the states and Oklahoma's beginning teacher pay ranks 19th.

"Oklahoma's Teacher Supply: Shortage or Surplus?" by Baylee Butler and Byron Schlomach looks at the anecdotal, circumstantial and hard numbers evidence of a teacher shortage in Oklahoma and finds the evidence wanting. At worst, any shortage is trivial in size. The state might even have a surplus. Summary