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November 14, 2008

Office of Salary Services

While New York City's 78 charter schools can have 78 different approaches to teacher pay, the traditional public schools follow this fascinating chart available from the Office of Salary Services.  Down the left side of the chart is listed the number of years taught.  Across the top of the chart is listed the amount of education school coursework completed.  In other words, the two ways to increase your pay are:

1. Accumulate experience as measured by the number of years taught.

2. Accumulate course credits and degrees at an accredited school of education.

Unfortunately, numerous academic studies suggest that:

1. Teacher performance may improve over the first two or, maybe, three years of experience.  After that, performance does not seem to improve.

2. Education courses and degrees have no effect on teacher performance.

Given these facts, the numbers on the chart are a big factor in the poor performance of some of our traditional public schools:

1. Notice how slowly and slightly salaries increase for newer teachers.  Between years two and three, for example, salaries go up by $400.  Recall that these are years in which teachers are becoming significantly more effective.  Meanwhile, teachers that have 20 years of longevity earn $8,600 more than teachers with 18 years despite no evidence that these additional two years affect performance.

2. Maxing out on ed school studies is worth $12,000 a year despite no evidence of any effect on teacher performance.

All told, a teacher with 22 years of experience, a masters degree, and 30 additional credits gets paid about twice a teacher with 5 years of experience and no advanced degree.  So a school can afford to hire two 5-year teachers for the price of one 22-year teacher regardless of teacher effectiveness.  Is it surprising that charter schools can outperform traditional public schools for less money? 


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I've always heard of the pay-for-seniority scale in public ed, but never actually saw the exact numbers. Thanks for sharing this excellent raw data.

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