Connected Educator Month by the Numbers

9/27/2012 12:00:00 AM

U.S. Blues

The following statistics are culled from The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s “Education at a Glance 2012” report.

Teachers in the U.S. spend much more time teaching than in other countries. Compared to their peers in other countries, teachers in the U.S. spend a great deal of time in front of the classroom. On average, primary school teachers in the U.S. spend almost 1,100 hours a year teaching, while lower secondary teachers teach for about 1,070 hours, and upper secondary school teachers spend about 1,050 hours. With the exceptions of lower and upper secondary teachers in Argentina and Chile and lower secondary teachers in Mexico, teachers in the U.S. teach for many more hours than in other countries.

Teacher salaries in the U.S. compare poorly to salaries for other workers with higher education. Despite high overall levels of spending on education, teacher salaries in the U.S. compare poorly. While in most OECD countries teacher salaries tend be lower, on average, than the salaries earned by other workers with higher education, in the U.S. the difference is large, especially for teachers with minimum qualitications. On average, a primary schoolteacher in the U.S. can expect to earn 67% of the salary of the average tertiary-educated worker in the U.S. (OECD average: 82%).

And yet, the U.S. spends a large proportion of its national wealth on education. Taking into account spending from public and private sources, the U.S. spends 7.3% of its GDP on all levels of education combined. This is well above the OECD average (6.2%), and more than all other OECD countries except Denmark (7.9%), Iceland (8.1%), Korea (8.0%) and New Zealand (7.4%). Across all levels of education, annual per-student spending by educational institutions in the U.S. is higher than in any other country.

For the full report, go to www.oecd.org/edu/eag2012

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