Teacher salaries are getting better, but they aren’t good enough

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – The Utah Foundation released a report this week on the state of teacher pay here in Utah addressing retention rates, teaching licensing and cost of living. 

Shawn Teigen is the Director of Research at the Utah Foundation; he said, “They may not necessarily be leaving because of salary but it’s certainly not keeping them around.”

Their report says that Utah teachers are paid about $47,000 per year, much lower than the national average of about $60,000 per year. That salary is one of many factors causing teachers to leave the classroom. In Utah, 40% of teachers leave the profession by their 8th year. 

That turnover creates another problem: lack of training. 

Teigen said, “What we’re seeing now is that there’s been a shift where teachers are coming from other places. Part of that is necessity. There just aren’t as many people in those four-year programs and districts need teachers in the classroom.”

The number of teachers starting with a temporary license or no license at all has drastically increased in the last four years from 18% in 2015 to 41% in 2018. 

Teigen said, “If you want the most highly effective teachers in the classroom teacher pay is a big one in terms of getting people there and keeping them there.”

Any teacher reading this story may think that finding is obvious, but solidifying it again with data can help decision-makers to fund education differently. 

Find the full report below. 

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