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Florida Education

Florida teacher salaries sink in national rankings to #50


New data released shows Florida’s average teacher pay dropped from being ranked #48 in the nation last year to #50 (out of the 50 states and D.C., only West Virginia ranks lower) in the nation this year.

The report, part of a series released by the National Education Association (NEA), echoes the concerns raised by the Florida Education Association about the lack of support for teachers in the state and the long-term impacts of low pay. The Florida Education Association has called on lawmakers to increase funding by $2.5 billion a year for the next seven years to address inadequate pay, hire more mental health specialists, and address students' academic needs.

“Once again, despite a thriving economy, Florida is failing to prioritize the needs of students by not fairly compensating teachers and staff,” said Andrew Spar, President of the Florida Education Association. “Time and time again, anti-education politicians say they support teachers — but the proof is undeniable: in the past five and a half years since Governor DeSantis took office, Florida’s public school teachers have experienced a stagnant and declining average salary. It is unacceptable that Florida ranks so close to last in the nation for teacher pay and that the teacher shortage crisis is still not being addressed. Every student in Florida deserves a world-class education. Every educator deserves the ability to create a better life for themselves and their loved ones. We need Florida’s lawmakers to step up and take bold action and fully fund public education to ensure our students can learn and grow. Florida’s students and educators need better.”

For the 2022-2023 school year, the students enrolled per teacher ratio was already higher than the national average at 20.7 students per teacher in Florida, but estimates show that student enrollment in Florida’s public schools will continue to rise. The NEA reports estimate that in the 2023-2024 school year, the percentage of teachers in Florida’s public schools will decline by 3%, a decline that could worsen the existing teacher and staff shortage.

The NEA report also shows that chronic low pay is plaguing the profession nationally, both for teachers and education support professionals. 77% of school districts still pay a starting salary below $50,000, while almost 38% of all full-time K-12 education support professionals earn less than $25,000 annually. Yet nationally, the report shows that teachers earn 26% more, on average, in states with collective bargaining.

“Every student, regardless of race or place, deserves caring, qualified, committed educators. And every educator needs our fierce support in helping them inspire imagination, curiosity, and a love of learning and to provide the skills students need to thrive in their brilliance,” said Becky Pringle, President of the National Education Association, in a press release on their report. “The good news is that through their unions, educators have demanded respect and a seat at the table and have used the power of their collective voice to demand more. More for their students, more professional respect, and more pay. By holding elected officials accountable, educators will earn the respect, competitive wages, and support they deserve to provide their students with the skills needed to fulfill their dreams in safe, just, and welcoming learning environments.”

Read NEA's Educator Pay 2024 Reports

The National Education Association's annual report on educator pay quantifies teacher salaries, education support professional pay, higher education salaries, and student spending in every state.

National Education Association, Florida Education Association, Florida, Education, Teacher Salaries, Why is Florida #50 with such a big economy?


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