While Arizona teachers have seen increased pay recently, so have teachers across the county. Arizona remains 49th in the nation for median elementary teacher pay and, while the gap has slightly narrowed, Arizona is still nearly $13,000 behind the national median.
Updated salary data for calendar year 2018 was analyzed and adjusted for cost of living by researchers at Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy to inform the Arizona Education Progress Meter, which provides a vision for what the community wants education in our state to look like, including teacher pay that is on par with the national median. The Education Progress Meter goal is to reach the national median by 2022.
National Median Arizona Median
2018 $58,230 $45,353 – Rank 49
2017 $57,160 $44,990 – Rank 49
2016 $55,800 $42,474 – Rank 50
Figures reflect median elementary teacher pay adjusted for cost of living.
Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2018
Bureau of Economic Analysis, Regional Price Parities, 2017
It should be noted that teacher pay as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reflects salary information for the calendar year. As a result, the full teacher pay raise included in the FY19 budget is only partially reflected in the 2018 BLS data.
Significant new investments needed to meet long-term goals
Targeted fixes and one-time expenditures serve demonstrated needs of education, but they don’t get us where we need to be in the long-term. Arizona’s recently passed fiscal year 2020 budget includes another installment of a multi-year pay increase for teachers, but even when the full 20 percent increase is realized it won’t be enough to close the gap between median pay in Arizona and the national median.
If we expect student achievement to improve and our communities to thrive, Arizona’s teacher salaries must be competitive with other states. The state will not reach the national median in teacher pay or other Education Progress Meter goals without significant investments in all of education, as outlined in the Roadmap for P-20 Education Funding to reach the Arizona Education Progress Meter goals.
Take Action Today
We need your help. Encourage the Governor and members of the Legislature to start working now to quickly identify a new mix of sources to thoughtfully increase state revenue to support a long-term funding solution for all of education in Arizona, while maintaining a healthy business climate.