Document Type


Publication Date



Adequacy of teacher pay, equity of pay

Series Title

Office for Education Policy

Series Number

Volume 02 Issue 04


In America, teacher compensation has undergone major changes over the last 200 years. Throughout much of the early 19th century, teachers were often paid with room and board within a community and taught all grades. Around 1921, a form of the single salary schedule still in use today was implemented (Protsik, 1995), where teachers’ salaries were linked to their educational background and their years in the field. Like the salaries of most other public officials, however, teachers’ salaries shift with changing social, economic, and political climates. The pay rate for teachers is also influenced by a number of variables (e.g. the size of the district, the number of students in the district, the number of schools in the district, and other community factors). Regardless of the multiple factors affecting teacher pay, it remains a controversial issue in many states. This work attempts to summarize the arguments surrounding the teacher salary debate across the nation and within the State of Arkansas. The current debate seems to be two-fold: focusing on the adequacy and equity of teacher pay. Adequacy is measured by comparing the pay of teacher to that of other professionals. Equity is measured by examining differences in teacher pay across school districts and even states.