Log in  |  Search

U.S. Teachers Paid Less, Work Longer, than OECD Average

A new report by the leading organization for international education data finds that public school teachers in the United States earn only about two-thirds of what similarly-educated U.S. workers earn, while teachers in most of the rest of the developed world earn 80 to 89 percent of their peer professionals.

In addition, the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, a member organization of 34 countries across Europe, South America, and the Far East, found that U.S. teacher salaries increased only about 3 percent between 2000 and 2011, compared with a 17 to 20 percent increase for teachers in other developed countries.

Public elementary school teachers in the U.S. worked an average of 1,097 hours in 2011, almost 40 percent more than the 790 hours for the average teacher in the OECD countries. U.S. high school teachers worked 1,051 hours, some 60 percent more than the 664 hours for upper secondary level teachers in other OECD countries.

Other education indicators in the OECD report, Education At A Glance 2013, found troubling news at both the beginning and late stages of U.S. education.

Just half of 3-year-olds and 78 percent of 4-year-olds are enrolled in some kind of early childhood education in the United States, compared with OECD averages of 68 percent of 3-year-olds and 85 percent of 4-year-olds. At the upper end of education, what the report reveals is that college attainment amongst all U.S. adults ages 25 to 64 puts us fifth in the world, but zeroing in on just 24 to 34 year olds — young adults — pushes the U.S. rank to 12th.

Finally, the proportion of young adults who were “NEET” (“not employed or in education or training”) increased between 2008 and 2011, to 15.9 percent of youth ages 15 to 29, a shade higher than the OECD average, which includes economically devastated countries like Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy.

In other words, the U.S. education system, while mighty, is slipping or standing still, while Korea, Japan, the Russian Federation and Ireland surge ahead in the percentages of its populations that are college educated; Spain, Mexico, France and Belgium enroll far more young children in pre-primary education; and Australia, Israel, Poland and even Portugal have raised teacher pay significantly while U.S. teachers have seen almost nothing for a decade.

Is this any way to run an education system?



  • 1 Joe Davenport
    · Jul 4, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    Show’s what happens when you have a loud segment of policy setters who believe the only way to save the education system is to destroy it.

  • 2 Anna Vipp
    · Jul 16, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    i agree the stories are bad school situations we cannot’ deny school budget teachers taxes raise high dont’ limit school kids pass the school budget!

  • 3 Anne Fulop
    · Jul 29, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    The US politicians are making a serious mistake in not rewarding our educators. They spend more time with our children than parents do. These teachers direct and influence children to be able To succeed in life and contribute positively to society The media doesn’t tell us about the Tremendous number of dedicated , inspiring, teachers who are working in less than poor conditions without sufficient supplies these teachers often have to buy their own supplies in addition to their not being compensated for there education & hard work The media does not
    report on these teachers But the few troubled individuals sure make headlines!! Come on America do something to help our teachers get an increase in wages!! They are the people responsible for shaping our future citizens!!!